The HepNet Study-House connects individual trial centres in the hepatitis research field, creating a central platform for conducting clinical trials (investigator initiated trials). In addition, it establishes patient cohorts for viral hepatitis research. On the one hand, the Study-House is a point of contact for scientists and collaboration partners who are interested in conducting trials. On the other hand, it offers a nationwide network to include practices and doctors in Germany who are also interested in participating in trials. The DZIF can use these networks and cohorts for its projects. Over the last few years, several multicentre and international trials have been conducted.
The most significant projects at the HepNet Study-House include clinical trials on acute hepatitis C (HCV) treatment. The HepNet trial cohorts of patients with acute hepatitis C are globally unique. The acute HCV IV trial was the first to be conducted with official DZIF funding. In this trial, patients with acute HCV infections were treated with the new interferon-free therapy for the first time worldwide. The HepNet aHCV-V trial is also being supported by the DZIF, amongst others, and will be initiated in 2019.
The Study House also focuses on trials and patient cohorts for the treatment of chronic hepatitis D. International and multicentre trials on the treatment of chronic hepatitis D conducted at the HepNet Study-House make up the largest trials in this field in the world so far. In addition, over the past few years, the HepNet Study-House has established an international network to include a patient database known as the Hepatitis Delta International Network (www.hepatitis-delta.org).
Meanwhile, all leading scientists in the field of hepatitis D are involved in this network. Two meetings take place on an annual basis, and include approximately 100 participants each. Over 1,800 patients from all parts of the world have already been included in the patient database. The first data analysis was published in Liver International in 2017.
In addition to the two core themes covering acute hepatitis C and hepatitis D, the first study in the world on chronic hepatitis E was conducted last year. Different hepatitis research groups use samples obtained from this study. Initial results will be presented at various conferences in 2019.
With its clinical trials and patient cohorts, the HepNet Study-House continues to make significant contributions towards the development of new therapeutic approaches and the optimisation of existing therapies.
Successful cooperation between university medicine, research and the pharmaceutical industry enable large multicentre IIT trials (investigator initiated trials) to be conducted and support translational research in the field of viral hepatitis.