A doctor at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte was involved in a groundbreaking study on treating African-Americans who have Hepatitis C.
Hepatitis C is a liver infection that people usually get through contaminated blood transfusions or intravenous drug use.
Dr. Herbert Bonkovsky said doctors have known for years that African-Americans are much more difficult to cure of Hepatitis C than other patients. With the study that came out this week, now they know why.
He and other doctors discovered African-Americans are more likely to have a genetic variation that makes the usual treatment less effective. Dr. Bonkovsky said now doctors can test patients for that variation.
“So this is really bringing personalized medicine down to a new level and also showing that African-Americans don’t respond due to their basic genetic makeup,” Dr. Bonkovsky said.
Dr. Bonkovsky says the next step is to figure out a new treatment for Hepatitis C patients with the genetic variation.