As requested by a commenter, on our back-up site, here's the run-down on this breaking current-generation Hepatits C pegalated-interferon study result. Quoth the NEJM synopsis, then:
. . . .We conducted a randomized, controlled trial of peginterferon alfa-2a at a dosage of 90 µg per week for 3.5 years, as compared with no treatment, in 1050 patients with chronic hepatitis C and advanced fibrosis who had not had a response to previous therapy with peginterferon and ribavirin. . . . The primary end point was progression of liver disease, as indicated by death, hepatocellular carcinoma, hepatic decompensation, or, for those with bridging fibrosis at baseline, an increase in the Ishak fibrosis score of 2 or more points. . . .
We randomly assigned the patients to receive peginterferon (517 patients) or no therapy (533 patients) for 3.5 years. . . . there was no significant difference between the groups in the rate of any primary outcome (34.1% in the treatment group and 33.8% in the control group; hazard ratio, 1.01; 95% confidence interval, 0.81 to 1.27; P=0.90). The percentage of patients with at least one serious adverse event was 38.6% in the treatment group and 31.8% in the control group (P=0.07). . . .
Long-term therapy with peginterferon did not reduce the rate of disease progression in patients with chronic hepatitis C and advanced fibrosis, with or without cirrhosis, who had not had a response to initial treatment with peginterferon and ribavirin. . . .
This plainly makes the recent Teleprevir Phase III results (acheiving very solid efficiacy for Vertex, in the same sort of non-responders) all the more impressive. Bet on Vertex to win the next generation battle, here -- over Schering's boceprevir candidate.