Preliminary results from Georgetown University Hospital, South Carolina, US, show that treatment with the growth factor can enable patients to undergo full dose treatment with interferon and ribavirin.
Reporting to the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases meeting in Dallas, Texas, US, doctors told how they tested the interleukin-11 drug oprelvekin - marketed as Neumega - on four patients with chronic hepatitis C.
Two patients developed severe thrombocytopenia after beginning anti-viral therapy while the other two were given oprelvekin to stabilize platelet levels during treatment.
Oprelvekin increased platelet levels in four cases
In all four cases treatment increased platelet levels and the patients were able to continue chemotherapy.
Researcher Dr William Ershler, a hematologist, said: "By its nature, hepatitis C puts patients at risk for thrombocytopenia.
"We're encouraged by these findings and look forward to exploring IL-11's potential role in the long-term management of this devastating disease."
Report Copyright: Englemed Health News at http://www.internationalmedicalnews.com