Lactoferrin Reduces Viral Load in Hepatitis -C Patients

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is one of the most common causes of chronic hepatitis. Interferon is presently the only effective treatment for chronic hepatitis C (CH-C), though its effectiveness is limited. Lactoferrin, an iron-binding protein with several proven biological activities including anti-viral activity, has recently been reported to inhibit hepatitis C infection in cultured human hepatocytes.

Researchers in Japan conducted a trial designed to measure the effectiveness of different doses of lactoferrin on reducing hepatitis C (HCV) RNA levels in infected patients.
Forty-five patients were treated with daily oral doses of lactoferrin in three dose ranges: 1.8, 3.6, and 7.2 grams per day.

At the conclusion of the eight-week study researchers determined that lactoferrin significantly decreased HCV RNA levels, with reductions of greater than 50 percent seen in four patients. They reported that lactoferrin was well tolerated and there were no side effects. They also found no significant relationship between the different doses of lactoferrin on serum HCV RNA levels?lactoferrin was equally effective at both low and high doses. All patients relapsed during the follow-up period after treatment with lactoferrin was halted.

In their conclusion the authors state, the excellent tolerance and potential anti-chronic hepatitis C activity of lactoferrin shown in this trial suggest that further trials using a large number of patients are mandatory.

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Jpn J Cancer Res 2002 Sep;93(9):1063-9.

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