For almost 20 years, Clarice Chrisp has been living with Primary Biliary Cholangitis (PBC), a rare autoimmune liver condition. Her constant lack of energy and unexplained fatigue have affected her life significantly, but she has remained engaged and active in seeking to further the science behind the disease. This desire to be involved led to her meeting Dr. Mason.
Dr. Andrew Mason has been researching the link between Human Betaretrovirus Infection (HBRV) and PBC for decades, and his work has persisted despite dismissal by others in the field. The latest in a series of studies conducted by Dr. Mason, the CART study uses Combination Antiretroviral Therapy to treat HBRV in patients with PBC. With around 30 patients enrolled in the CART study, the results are beginning to roll in.
“We’ve already seen about a 17% drop in the major liver tests that we look at in the whole group,” Dr. Mason says. "We know from prior studies that can’t be from chance alone, so we can see a big response overall in the patient group.”
HBRV has been linked to breast cancer, autoimmune liver diseases, and other autoimmune diseases. With these becoming more prevalent, the results of this study could have major impact on society and the science behind its understanding and treatment.
For Clarice, she feels more in control of her disease since she became involved in the research process. “People who have it have to step up. That’s how you find cures.” Her involvement in these studies has helped to advance the science in this area and bring Dr. Mason’s work even closer towards success.