Alternative medicines and "cures" for Hepatitis B

Hello Thomas, lately I have encountered one hepatitis medicine advertisement on TikTok by a person from India. I just went through google and tried getting more information about it. And it was reflected that medicine can cure hepatitis, and we will need take for durations of 6 month. It is known as ‘ liver sanjeevani’. Therefore, I am bit suspicious about it. I would be glad if you could share whatever you know. If it can cure hepatitis then why is it not announced to world that hepatitis cure is found. Thank you.

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Dear @Star505,

Thanks for your question, I hope you don’t mind that I made it a separate topic because I think it’s a really important subject that should be discussed in detail.

I think you were right to be sceptical for all the reasons you’ve described. To put it bluntly, there are no proven cures for Hepatitis B yet. There is no scientific evidence that I can find showing that liver sanjeevani can cure hepatitis B.

Thomas

Hello Experts,

In India, there are multiple Ayurvedic doctors/companies, who claim to cure Hepatitis b. They have many patient testimonials (hundreds of them) as well.

To list few companies and details on their official websites,

  1. Planet Ayurveda - (on their website, medicines are mentioned to be GMP certificate, FDA registered, USDA organic etc…) One testimonial shown to viral load from 50mn to TND levels. They supply worldwide.
  2. Kamalahar - Many testimonials of liver disease cure including Hepatitis B and C. They claim to cure within 6 months to a year. They are in for 30+ years and have helped 1mn patients in 30 countries. Testimonials also include patients with cirrhosis and ascites reversal in 6 months.
  3. HM foundation- They claim to be FDA approved, USFSM registered, Patented product, GMP certified. I am not sure whether they are referring some Indian certifications or something else. They even claim to restore anti HBs over a period of 12-15 months to give lifelong protection from disease.

There are many other firms too…

There are many other individual doctors with testimonials of patients showing viral load reduction to TND levels.

All of them say that the medicines have no side effects and one can be off medication once viral load becomes TND or Hbsag becomes negative.

What can we interpret from these ?

Regards,

Dear @rjktgj,

To get straight to the point, there are no scientific studies credibly showing ayurvedic medicine can lead to meaningfully beneficial states for hepatitis B. Instead there are several scientific descriptions of ayurvedic medicines causing liver injury, liver failure and even death. Here are the first 5 that came up for me (there are many more):

These seem like significant side-effects to me, and obviously the people that are injured or die are unlikely to be asked for their testimonials. By chance, some people will naturally (without these agents) clear the infection, so these particular testimonials or examples can’t really be trusted without a proper trial.

I (and the rest of the HBV scientific community) would be the first ones supporting any agent that does lead to HBV cure without any side-effects, even if it were based in ayurvedic medicine. There are previous examples of this: Artemisinin had been used in Chinese traditional medicine for (probably) 1000s of years. When this was scientifically shown to have effects against malaria, it was eventually incorporated into medical response as a pure (and relatively safe) substance.

Hope this helps clarify things,
Thomas

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Hi,

Has anyone with chronic hep B tried AHCC compound for immune system boost? Any thoughts on this please?

Thanks

Dear @aman,

There doesn’t seem to be any link between AHCC and immune system in the paper you have linked. The paper seems to show very little effect of AHCC on liver cancer recurrence in a very small cohort.

Thomas

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Thank you @ThomasTu ,

I am not a medical person but looking to see a possible cure for my partner who is Chronic Hepatitis B carrier.

I have got the immunisation jab for Hep B and developed antibodies for Hep B infection. I was wondering if helper T cells that secrete the chemical message for fighting infection could be used from a person who has developed immunity (like myself) by injecting them in the CHB patients in order to activate their sleeping immune system?

Perhaps AI simulation can predict its success?

Regards
Aman

Hi @Aman,

Great ideas! Yes, I can imagine that these sorts of approaches have been suggested in the course of developing a cure, but may have run into issues:

  1. The immune system can be considered an organ. If you are transplanting from one person to another, it needs to be done with quite a bit of planning and scrutiny. First, the host may reject the donor organ: the person’s existing immune system may recognise your HBV-protective immune system and simply clear it because it looks foreign. Generally to get over this, recipients are given immuno-suppression which could make the HBV worse.
  2. The donor organ can also attack the host (also known as graft vs. host disease): the donor immune cells could also recognise the host as foreign, so would start attacking all cells (not just the HBV infected cells).
  3. Even if the donor immune cells only specifically target HBV-infected cells, it may be difficult to control them. They could be over-active, killing all infected cells within a short period of time, which may cause extensive liver damage or even liver failure. Or they could be under-active: the liver is an “immunosuppressive” environment, where the immune system is not as well activated. Getting this balance right and then maintaining that balance is one of the major issues to this sort of approach.

There are alternatives, such as using the HBV-infected person’s own immune cells and altering them to be active against HBV (e.g., Lymphocytes transiently expressing virus-specific T cell receptors reduce hepatitis B virus infection - PubMed, and Adoptive T-cell therapy for HBV-associated HCC and HBV infection - PubMed).

Happy for any @ScienceExperts (esp. those more immunologically inclined @mat @nina.le.bert @Greg) to provide further input, corrections, or approaches that are occurring in the field.

Cheers,
Thomas

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Thank you @ThomasTu :pray: Just out of curiosity, Does the Hep B virus feeds on anything inside human body or does it just multiples using liver cells?

I think there is gene therapy on the horizon as well where cccDNA is sniped out of DNA in existing infected liver cells. This looks promising but bit scary as well in case DNA is not snipped precisely then it might cause mutations inside liver cells. :blush: Plus how does the drug know which liver cells need treatment?

I was looking at metabolic therapy for cancer treatment. I think it becomes crucially important to eat a diet that is low in glucose to discourage any cancer development inside liver for existing CHB patients?.(But liver also stores glucose :woozy_face:) Not sure if glutamine level should also be monitored by taking DON as prevention. Which might be overkill perhaps as DON need to be injected to be effective.

Regards

Hi @Aman, great questions.

It does multiply in liver cells and uses some of its fats, proteins, and other molecules to do so. I haven’t done the math, but the amount that it uses is not likely to make a substantial dent in the overall metabolic needs of the cell doing its usual function.

This is a good interpretation of the field right now. Safety is of the utmost importance for Hep B therapies, and if there are DNA mutations in our cells being generated, then it is much less likely to be translated further.

These gene therapies are selective as they only recognise and cut particular DNA sequences. Scientists design them to only recognise Hep B DNA sequences (which are different from human DNA sequences) to make them specific.

There hasn’t been data I have seen that specifically links lower glucose consumption to liver cancer development. Same too with DON and liver cancer prevention.

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Thank you @ThomasTu , Looking forward to ThervacB vaccine. 2028 if everything goes right. :crossed_fingers:, Not sure if it will be provided as part of combined drug therapy.

My understanding is that thervacB has just started Phase 1a trials to make sure that it is tolerated in healthy individuals (ClinicalTrials.gov), so sounds great that there’s progress in this space.

Thomas

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Yes @ThomasTu , it’s exciting. Really thankful to science community who make all this happens,