The ICE-HBV forum at the upcoming International HBV meeting will be a scientific working meeting targeting active researchers in academia and industry. It will explore issue related to the mechanisms of combination therapies that will be entering trials in the near future. It will be a detailed scientific exploration of the rationales for combining drugs of various classes, with the goal of gaining some clarity about which types of drugs have the best chance to work together to give a cure. There is no meaningful understanding of this yet, so the discussion needs to be deep in the weeds of arcane scientific details if we are to make substantial progress on this critical question.
However, I am in enthusiastic agreement that the patient community’s voice needs to be heard loud and clear as cure therapies are developed. The ICE-HBV Governing Board includes a patient/advocacy representative, the HBF’s own Joan Block, and she is very active in our governance. Also, I worked with the American Cancer Society as one of their senior scientific advisors for a long time, and all of the ACS’ grant and policy review committees have robust patient representation, so I have first-hand experience with the very valuable insights the patients can provide.
In sum: The ICE-HBV Forum needs to be a detailed scientific evaluation of a critical topic to have a chance of making progress, but HBV patients and advocacy representatives are all very much welcome to join. I’ll see if I can get a reduced registration rate for patient/community representatives. Stay tuned…I’ll post again once a decision is reached.