Hepatitis C is a disease of the liver caused by the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV). Patients with
hepatitis C may feel well and show no signs or symptoms of being ill. However, researchers
would like to study the long-term effects of this disease.
Volunteer blood donors diagnosed with chronic hepatitis C viral (HCV) and various levels of
liver enzyme activity will be offered a complete medical evaluation and liver biopsy. The
tests will enable researchers to provide the patients with an idea of how severe their liver
disease is. The virus and patient will be studied in order to understand why patients with
hepatitis C develop different levels of liver damage.
A selected sample of volunteer blood donors with chronic hepatitis C viral (HCV) infection
and various levels of serum aminotransferase activity will be offered a complete medical
evaluation and liver biopsy to determine the severity of their liver disease. Various
virological and host factors will be studied in an attempt to determine why patients with
HCV infection develop differing degrees of liver disease.
Patients with chronic hepatitis C.
Age 18 to 70 years, male or female.
HCV infection indicated by the presence of anti-HCV (by ELISA and recombinant immunoblot
Written informed consent.
Women must not be pregnant.
Patients must not have significant systemic illnesses other than liver disease, including
congestive heart failure, renal failure, uncontrolled diabetes mellitus.
Patients must not have antiviral or immunosuppressive therapy within the last 6 months.
Patients must not have HIV infection.
Patients must not have contraindications to liver biopsy (mainly clotting abnormality
(coumadin therapy, platelet count less than 50,000/cubic millimeter, prothrombin time more
than 4 seconds beyond control)).