Hepatitis C has been enough of a problem, but there are also a dozens of Israelis who also have kidney failure and undergo kidney dialysis as well.

Dr. Yoav Lurie of the capital’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, along with liver experts at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and Rambam Medical Center and Carmel Medical Center in Haifa are about to test the Merck drugs MK-5172 and MK-8742 on their kidney failure patients (or those who have undergone kidney transplants but the new organs do not function well enough) who also have hepatitis C.

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“Such people are usually very fragile because of their multiple conditions and most of them have not been eligible for current medications because these could worsen their general and kidney conditions,” said Lurie.

“But with the development of the experimental new pills, we are about to test one of them and are in the process of reviewing possible candidates. We can accept only those who are in reasonable condition.” The international trial will take up to six months, said Lurie, but “we are very hopeful, because in previous cases, no side effects were observed in patients with normal kidney functions.”

Potential recipients with both conditions are invited to contact him at yoav@szmc.org.il or liverunit@szmc.org.il or to call the unit at (02) 6555035. Those not near Jerusalem can go to the liver clinics at any of the other four medical centers.

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