Clinical Trials Archives - AZ Clinical Trials

Picture1-1.jpg

The Sudden Wave of Hepatitis Amongst Children

A recent upsurge in hepatitis cases involving children has caused alarm nationwide. Let’s dive into why this age group is suddenly experiencing a spike in occurrences.

An Origin Story – How Cases of Hepatitis Amongst Children Began

 The first flare-up of hepatitis in kids emerged in the United Kingdom in early April of this year. A total of 10 severe cases were brought to the attention of the World Health Organization. All of them were ages ten and younger. The numbers, however, did not end here. As of June 2022, thirty-three countries were combating the hepatitis outbreak in children and, when combined, equaled a sum of 920 reported cases. Arizona is considered to be one of the hot zones for activity.

Child in bed running a fever and parent looking at thermometer.

What You Should Know About Hepatitis Amongst Children

When a child has hepatitis, they will experience an inflammation of their liver. A list of different viruses can cause this; however, the two most common are hepatitis B and hepatitis C. A link doctors are finding between the newfound cases in children involves a virus by the name of adenovirus. There is expected to be about 100 types of this virus and fifty percent known capable of infecting humans. When discussing hepatitis, you may often hear the terms acute and chronic hepatitis mentioned. Here’s what they mean.

  1. Acute hepatitis occurs when a child with no previous health issues begins to display liver concerns.
  2. Chronic hepatitis deals with predisposed children with ongoing issues with liver disease.

Tell-Tale Symptoms of Hepatitis Amongst Children

What’s particularly odd with this volume of cases is that it’s very unusual to encounter a healthy child with such severe liver injury suddenly. Children may even go on to develop Non-Alcoholic Liver Disease (NAFLD). This takes place when the liver becomes intruded with a fat named steatosis. If inflammation or scarring come about, it’s then called steatohepatitis or the more commonly used NASH. If you’re worried your child or a child that you know may be combating hepatitis, here are some signs to look out for.

  • Fever
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Yellowing of skin and eyes
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Joint pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dark urine or Clay-colored stool

Stages of liver damage.

Prevention of Hepatitis in Children is Around the Corner

It’s hard to not feel overwhelmed when something concerns our little ones or ones we know, but thankfully there are preventative measures that can be taken to ensure the safety of those you care about. If there’s one thing kids love, it’s touching everything in sight. A simple implementation of routine handwashing throughout the day can go a long way in helping stop the spread of hepatitis from child to child. You can also assist on your end by providing the child with supportive care, such as introducing a healthy diet into their daily routine and assuring they receive the necessary rest. Medications are also frequently used for treatment, depending on the individual case. Last but most certainly not least are vaccines. Currently, vaccinations for hepatitis A and B are readily available. This is a tremendous precaution to employ especially in young children before the exposure that follows age.

Young girl getting a vaccine.

The Investigation Continues    

To see so many cases of hepatitis affecting such a young demographic nationally and in the state of Arizona naturally bumps it up to the top concern for the CDC. At this time, adenovirus remains the believed leading cause for hepatitis in children, but investigation remains ongoing. The CDC is working with state and local health departments to help gather as much data as possible in hopes to best prevent the spreading of hepatitis in children.

Cartoon picture of doctors holding up a liver.

Here at Arizona Liver Health, we believe research and awareness are the future to a better tomorrow. To learn more about hepatitis, check out our blog or contact us here with any questions or concerns you might have!

 

Resources:

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/71/wr/mm7118e1.htm?s_cid=mm7118e1_w

https://www.azfamily.com/2022/05/06/cdc-investigating-100-cases-unexplained-hepatitis-children-arizona-other-states/

https://www.who.int/emergencies/disease-outbreak-news/item/2022-DON394


ALH_Facebook_Blog-2-Evushield_07JUN2022_AW-1-1.jpg

Evusheld is a long-acting investigational protective measure against COVID-19, featuring a combination of two monoclonal antibodies. The FDA recently gave its approval under an emergency use authorization (EUA). Evusheld is a game-changer for liver patients and other individuals with a compromised immune system.

What is Evusheld, and Who Can Use It?

Evusheld is a combination of two long-acting monoclonal antibodies:

  • Tixagevimab
  • Cilgavimab

Scientists create monoclonal antibodies in a laboratory to act as your own antibodies. Their purpose is to restore, modify, and enhance the body’s immune system’s attack on harmful cells or contagions like COVID-19.

Monoclonal antibodies

Evusheld has approval under an EUA for the pre-exposure prevention of COVID-19 in adults and pediatric individuals at a higher risk of an inadequate immune response. This population includes immunocompromised people, such as those with cancer or transplant patients or anyone taking medicines that suppress the immune system.

Eligibility Criteria:

Adults and pediatric individuals (12 years of age and older weighing at least 88 pounds 40 kg):

  • Who are not currently infected with SARS-CoV-2 and who have not had a known recent exposure to an individual infected with SARS-CoV-2, AND:
  • Who have moderate to severe immune compromise due to a medical condition or receipt of immunosuppressive medications or treatments and may not mount an adequate immune response to COVID-19 vaccination, OR
  • For whom vaccination with any available COVID-19 vaccine, according to the approved or authorized schedule, is not recommended due to a history of severe adverse reaction (e.g., severe allergic reaction) to a COVID-19 vaccine(s) and/or COVID-19 vaccine component(s).

COVID-19 Protection Vs. Traditional Vaccine Route

Though current COVID-19 vaccines are safe, well-tolerated, and effective, individuals with compromised immune systems face a different challenge. In some instances, some patients who are immunocompromised might not generate a robust enough immune response. As a result, they may remain susceptible to contracting COVID-19, even with completing a full vaccine series. In addition, the risk for severe illness is higher in immunocompromised people. One reason is because the virus can survive longer in their bodies.

Vaccine protection

Evusheld is the latest research breakthrough providing hope to one of the most vulnerable populations in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Now, “normal” is a little bit closer for even more individuals.

At Arizona Clinical Trials and Arizona Liver Health, we specialize in conducting clinical research studies to improve care options for liver diseases and other conditions. We are excited about what Evusheld means for individuals with compromised immune systems due to the advanced stages of liver disease. In the meantime, we are still offering FREE fibroscans to adults at risk of liver disease and research studies you can join to help advance treatments for conditions that affect the liver.

Your liver is an organ with over 500 functions

To learn more, contact us today at (480) 360-4000 or visit our website.

Sources:

https://www.health.com/condition/infectious-diseases/coronavirus/immunocompromised-covid-vaccine

https://www.upmc.com/coronavirus/monoclonal-antibodies/immunocompromised-patients

https://www.astrazeneca.com/media-centre/press-releases/2022/evusheld-long-acting-antibody-combination-recommended-for-approval-in-the-eu-for-the-pre-exposure-prophylaxis-prevention-of-covid-19.html

https://www.fda.gov/media/154702/download


ALH_Facebook_Blog-Hepatitis-B_31MAY2022_PM.jpg

Like many other liver diseases, hepatitis B is a “silent epidemic” because most people do not have symptoms for most of the disease progression. It is one of the most common serious liver infections globally and in the state of Arizona, despite the fact it’s preventable and treatable. It’s time to get the facts on hepatitis B.

What is Hepatitis B, and How Does it Affect the Liver?

liver health

Hepatitis B (HBV) is a viral infection caused by the hepatitis B virus. The word hepatitis means “liver inflammation”; in this case, HBV is the cause of the inflammation. HBV is a short-term illness for most people, while others develop a serious long-term infection. Chronic inflammation (swelling and reddening) can lead to liver damage, cirrhosis (hardening or scarring), liver cancer, and in some cases death.

Hepatitis B spreads when bodily fluids like blood or semen from a person with the virus enter the body of someone without HBV. This can happen through:

  • Sexual contact
  • Sharing needles, syringes, or other IV drug use equipment
  • From mother to baby at birth.

Not everyone experiences symptoms with HBV. Symptoms include fatigue, loss of appetite, stomach pain, nausea, and jaundice for those who do.

Hepatitis B is Treatable and Preventable

The treatments your healthcare provider recommends will depend on the type of hepatitis B you have, acute or chronic.

  • Acute hepatitis B infections
    • Short-lived infections typically require that you get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids, and maintain a nutritious and healthy diet to give your body the support it needs as it fights off the infection.
  • Chronic hepatitis B infections
    • There are seven FDA-approved drugs for hepatitis B for chronic, long-term infections. Two are injectable treatments that help boost the immune system to fight off the virus. The five other options are antivirals you take orally. These treatments help reduce inflammation and damage to the liver.

HBV vaccine

The hepatitis B vaccine is available and recommended for all infants at birth and children up to 18 years. Since everyone is at some risk, all adults should consider getting the vaccine since it provides a lifetime of protection against a preventable chronic liver disease. Even more so, for those adults living with diabetes and those with an increased risk for infection (job, lifestyle, etc.).

Arizona and Hepatitis B

HBV disproportionately affects Asians and Pacific Islanders, which is also a growing population in Arizona. According to the CDC, Asian and Pacific Islanders make up less than 5 percent of the U.S. population. However, this community of those living with hepatitis B.

Your liver health is in your hands

Increasing awareness with community education and improving how HBV is detected and treated through clinical research studies has never been more critical. Arizona Liver Health has new hepatitis b studies starting soon! Visit our website to learn more about hepatitis b or contact us at (480) 470-4000.

Sources:

https://www.hepb.org/what-is-hepatitis-b/what-is-hepb/

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/4246-hepatitis-b

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona/2016/08/15/asian-pacific-health-group-takes-aim-hepatitis-b-arizona/87670654/

 

 


ALH_Facebook_Blog_HepatitisC_05MAY2022_JS-1-1.jpg

Hepatitis C is a liver infection from the hepatitis C virus (HCV). For some people, HCV causes short-term illness. However, for more than half, it becomes a long-term, chronic infection that can result in severe and life-threatening health problems. Liver diseases like hepatitis C progressively damage the liver over many years without notice. Learning about how it affects the liver and ways you can prevent and manage it are the best possible steps to fight it.

hepatitis words

How HCV Affects the Liver

The hepatitis C virus spreads by coming into contact with an infected person’s blood. Hepatitis C can cause an acute or chronic infection:

  • Acute hepatitis C
    • Acute hepatitis C is a short-term infection where symptoms can last up to 6 months. In some cases, the body can sometimes fight off the infection, and the virus goes away.
  • Chronic hepatitis C
    • Chronic hepatitis C occurs when the body cannot fight off the virus, resulting in a long-lasting infection. Around 75 to 85 percent of people with acute hepatitis C will develop chronic hepatitis C.

Abdominal pain-HepC

Symptoms of hepatitis C include:

  • Dark yellow urine
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Gray-colored stools
  • Pain in the joints
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Yellowing of the whites of the eyes and skin

Hepatitis means “inflammation of the liver” from infection, autoimmune disorder, or other factors. Regardless of the cause, these events trigger the body’s healing response, which rushes oxygen-rich blood, vital nutrients, and other special repair cells to the liver to heal it. We know of this process as inflammation. Most people with HCV have no idea they have it, so nothing is done to suppress or treat the infection.

Without treatment, the healing response continues trying to repair the liver. Over time, chronic inflammation and excess repair materials like collagen begin to damage and scar the liver. HCV can cause cirrhosis, liver cancer, and liver failure.

Managing Hepatitis C

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that antiviral medicines can cure more than 95% of persons with hepatitis C infection. You can help keep your liver healthy by eating healthy, staying active, and kicking the habits that harm your health.

Remember, most people with HCV don’t know it, so understanding the risk factors can help with early diagnosis and prevention.

Risk factors for HCV:

  • Healthcare workers exposed to infected blood
  • History or a current user of injected or inhaled illicit drugs
  • Diagnosed with HIV
  • Have tattoos or body piercings
  • Underwent a blood transfusion or organ transplant before 1992
  • Were treated with clotting factor concentrates before 1987
  • If your mother had a hepatitis C infection when you were born
  • If you ever worked or lived in prison
  • Have been on kidney dialysis

Liver disease can lead to hepatitis

Arizona Liver Health has a new hepatitis C study starting soon. To learn more, call us today at (480) 470-4000.

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hcv/index.htm

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hepatitis-c/symptoms-causes/syc-20354278

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/liver-disease/viral-hepatitis/hepatitis-c


ALH_Facebook_Bog-2-Effects-of-Alcohol_08APR2022_AW-1.jpg

Alcohol is one of the most widely used substances among America’s adult and teen populations, posing substantial health and safety risks. Even though most know the adverse effects of alcohol, many tend to do so without fully recognizing the health risks of consuming alcohol excessively. The liver is one of the essential organs in the body, and when it comes to alcohol, it can have devastating effects.

Your liver detoxifies your body, keeps you alert, and regulates your hormones

The Metabolization of Alcohol

On average, it takes the body about an hour to process one alcoholic beverage. Every additional drink increased that time frame. The more a person drinks, the longer it takes to process alcohol. That’s because the liver can only process so much at a time. When someone drinks too much, the alcohol left unprocessed by the liver circulates through the bloodstream and starts affecting the heart and brain. This is how people become intoxicated. Two liver enzymes begin to break apart the alcohol molecule so it the body can eventually eliminate them.

Woman on the floor with empty alcohol bottles

Alcohol’s Destruction

One of those enzymes, ADH, helps convert alcohol to acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is only in the body for a short time, but it is highly toxic and a known carcinogen. Some small amounts of alcohol are also eliminated from the body by forming fatty acid compounds. These compounds can damage the liver and pancreas.

The toxic effects of acetaldehyde have been linked to the development of cancers of the:

  • Mouth
  • Throat
  • Upper respiratory tract
  • Liver
  • Colon
  • Breasts

Chronic alcohol abuse (drinking 4 or 5 drinks in a row regularly) also destroys liver cells, which progress from fatty liver to alcoholic hepatitis (inflammation) to cirrhosis (scarring). However, heavy drinkers may develop alcoholic cirrhosis without first developing hepatitis.

Is There a Safe Amount of Alcohol?

While there is no safe amount of alcohol you can consume, you can reduce your risk of liver damage by drinking less. Individuals can drink in moderation by limiting intake to 2 drinks or less in a day for men or one drink or less for women.

The purpose of a fibroscan

Does the health of your liver concern you? Arizona Liver Health offers a FREE fibroscan for adults at risk of liver disease. To learn more, call (480) 470-4000 or request an appointment online today!

Sources:

https://www.verywellmind.com/alcohol-metabolism-key-to-alcohols-dangers-66524

https://www.addictioncenter.com/alcohol/liver/


ALH_Facebook_Blog-1-Minority-Participation_01APR2022_AW-1.jpg

April is National Minority Health Month (NMHM), a time to raise awareness about health disparities that affect people from racial and ethnic minority groups. Liver disease is growing in prevalence in the Hispanic population. It is also a leading cause of death in the U.S. Through education, we can lower the risk. Through participation, we can expand treatment options. These are some of the reasons minority participation in liver research matters.

Why Minorities Should Participate in Research

Diversity is vital in research because understanding how a condition affects different populations helps design safe, more effective treatments. Diversity is not just race and ethnicity but also gender, age, etc. Participants in clinical trials should represent the patient populations that will use the medical products. The reason is that people of different ages, races, and ethnicities may react differently to medical treatments.

Hispanics and Liver Disease

Hispanic middle aged couple preparing a meal

The most prevalent liver diseases in Hispanics are non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), chronic hepatitis C, alcoholic liver disease, cirrhosis, and liver cancer. The risk factors for these conditions include:

  • Obesity
  • Inactive lifestyle
  • Poor diet
  • Metabolic syndrome

7 symptoms of liver problems

When you look at the prevalence of these risk factors in Hispanics in the U.S., the results are:

  • 43% of Hispanics are considered obese
  • 35% of Hispanics have metabolic syndrome
  • Hispanic diets are traditionally high in carbohydrates and added sugars

In addition, many Hispanics in the U.S. possess a gene variation, PNPLA3, which has an association with a heightened risk for NAFLD and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

Liver Health is in Our Name!

Implementing the best education practices toward healthy lifestyle changes will help address the risks associated with cultural aspects. However, we need to do more work regarding the genetic predisposition and expanding treatments for individuals already living with liver disease. Why not trust the experts with “liver health” in their name when it comes to liver disease? For NMHM, consider giving back through research.

1 in 4 adults are living with liver disease

Arizona Liver Health offers FREE fibroscans to adults at risk of liver disease and a chance to help advance care options for liver diseases through our studies. Get involved today! Contact us at (480) 470-4000 to learn more about your liver and options for treatment of liver disease, or visit our website.

Sources:

https://txliver.com/media/hispanics-and-liver-disease/

https://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=4&lvlid=62#:~:text=Both%20Hispanic%20men%20and%20women,their%20non%2DHispanic%20white%20counterparts.

https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/AZ


ALH_Facebook_American-Heart-Month_08FEB2022_RD-1.jpg

When we think of hearts, we think of Valentine’s Day and the exchange of cards and unique trinkets shared with our family and friends. February is also American Heart Month which creates awareness about heart disease, the number one cause of death in the U.S. Every cell and organ in your body relies on a healthy cardiovascular system. So, while you’re spreading the love this month, make sure some of it’s for yourself. When you love your heart, you love your liver and overall health too.

The Heart and the Liver

The circulatory system and the heart work together to form the cardiovascular system. The heart pushes the blood through the lungs to add oxygen to it. Along with other nutrients, the oxygen-rich blood is pumped through veins and arteries to all the body’s cells and organs, which is necessary for them to function.

The Liver has hundreds of vital functions and is the only organ with two separate blood supplies. One brings blood from the heart; the other brings blood from the intestines to filter it. The liver receives up to 25% of blood from the cardiovascular system.

The liver performs over 500 vital functions

How They Impact Each Other

Heart disease is a term for various conditions affecting heart structure and function. For example, coronary artery disease, the most common condition, causes narrowing or complete blockage of the veins and arteries in your heart from cholesterol or plaque. This makes it difficult for blood to reach the rest of the body and the heart itself. Decreased blood flow can cause liver cells’ death, which makes it harder to function. Eventually, the liver becomes permanently scarred, ultimately leading to cirrhosis.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is where an abnormal amount of fat accumulates in the liver. It is one of the most common liver diseases in America. NAFLD leads to chronic inflammation of the liver that progressively damages and scars the liver, leading to cirrhosis. A compromised liver affects the heart in many ways, including:

  • Narrowing, enlarging, and other damage of the blood vessels from not effectively filtering the toxins from the blood.
  • Increased blood pressure as the liver struggles to keep up with the flow from the heart. High blood pressure can damage and weaken the heart.

The risk factors shared for both conditions include obesity, poor diet, and lack of exercise.

Making Healthier Choices, Starting NOW

While liver and heart diseases have overlapping risk factors, most cases are preventable and respond to healthier lifestyle changes. Focusing on your health has never been more critical. During American Heart Month, we encourage every person to take the first steps towards a healthier life, including

  • Becoming more physically active
  • Eating a healthy, sensible diet low in sodium, sugar, and trans fats.
  • Adopting a good sleep hygiene routine ensures your body is getting enough rest.
  • Looking into smoking cessation programs to stop smoking.
  • Learning what you can do to reduce and manage stress better.

Visit the National Institutes of Health website for more information on weekly self-care ideas and other resources to help you get involved.

Loving your liver doesn't have to be hard

If you have NASH, participating in a research study is a great way to celebrate American Heart Month by prioritizing your health. To learn more about enrolling liver studies here at Arizona Liver Health, call us at (480) 470-4000 or visit our website today!

Sources:

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/education/american-heart-month/about

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0002870300825077

https://eurjmedres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/2047-783X-14-12-541


ALH_Facebook_Blog_Liver-Health_19JAN2022_RD-1.jpg

You can start this year on the right foot by taking proactive steps for your health and well-being. If you’ve been diagnosed with liver disease, keeping your liver healthy is essential. It’s a new year, and it’s time to set some new liver health goals.

Fighting Liver Disease Starts with Prevention

Stages of liver disease

The best way to fight liver disease is to avoid it, if possible. However, the same tips that can help reduce your risk of liver disease can also help individuals already living with it reduce complications and promote disease progression (in a good way). These include:

  • Weight loss plays a vital role in helping reduce fat accumulation in the liver. If you’re overweight, you could be in danger of developing a fatty liver that can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD is one of the fastest-growing forms of liver disease.
  • Eat a sensible, well-balanced diet. Avoid high-calorie meals, saturated fat, refined carbohydrates, and sugars. Hydration is also essential, so drink plenty of water.

Healthy foods

  • Exercising consistently helps burn triglycerides for fuel and reduces fat accumulation in the liver.
  • Don’t smoke. Cigarette smoke and other toxins can injure liver cells.
  • Alcoholic beverages can create many health problems and can damage liver cells and scar your liver Talking to your doctor about what amount of alcohol is right for you can help you drink responsibly.
  • Taking medications incorrectly can harm your liver. Make sure to follow directions on all medications. Never take more than prescribed or mix them with alcohol.

Dedicated to Liver Health

A happy liver for a better you

If you are at risk or have been diagnosed with liver disease, Arizona Liver Health has resources to help. To learn more about our FREE liver scans or our enrolling liver health research studies, call us today at (480) 470-4000 or visit our website.

Sources:

https://www.hepmag.com/blog/10-proactive-steps-help-liver

https://liverfoundation.org/13-ways-to-a-healthy-liver/


ALH_Facebook_Blog-1-COVID-Omicron_05JAN2022_AW-1.png

At this point in the COVID-19 pandemic, it feels like we are navigating the different levels of a video game. Except this isn’t a video game, this is real life amid the COVID-19 pandemic. When vaccines drove the infection rates down, up popped the Delta variant. Now, the COVID-19 variant Omicron is spreading at lightning speed.

Why and How Viruses Mutate

Viruses are constantly making copies of themselves to reproduce. Over time, random changes (mutations) occur in the copies. Most times, these mutations are so small that there’s no change in how the virus behaves. If enough mutations arise, a new variation or strain of the virus can emerge.

Omicron

As we are barely gaining ground on COVID-19 two years later, it’s understandable our knowledge of Omicron is minimal. We don’t yet know:

  • How easily it spreads
  • The severity of illness it causes
  • How well available vaccines and medications work against it

Based on the changed genetic makeup and initial observations reported in those infected, the CDC lists the following information about Omicron:

  • The Omicron variant likely will spread more quickly than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus.
  • Anyone with Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms.
  • Some treatments are likely to remain effective, while others may be less effective.

Vaccinate, Get Your Booster, and Join the Fight to End COVID-19

Scientists and health officials expect that current vaccines will continue to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant. However, it’s still possible for breakthrough infections to occur in fully vaccinated people. Vaccines have remained effective in preventing severe disease, hospitalization, and death with other variants like Delta. The emergence of Omicron further emphasizes the importance of vaccination and boosters.

COVID-19 Scare?

Arizona Clinical Trials offers COVID-19 resources through our clinical trials. Explore your options today! Visit our website to complete the application to see if you qualify.



Social networks


Facebook

www.facebook.com/azclinicaltrials


Twitter

@azclintrials


Instagram

@azclinicaltrials



Locations


Mesa Office

2152 S Vineyard Ave Ste 123
Mesa, AZ 85210
480-360-4000


Tucson Office

1601 N Swan Rd
Tucson, AZ 85712
520-445-4000


Call us to see if you or your patient qualify for a clinical trial.