Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) Pediatric Research and Clinical Trials

Historically, children with chronic hepatitis B would be treated with one of two drugs, interferon and lamivudine. There are other medications – adefovir, entecavir, and peginterferon – that the Food and Drug Administration has approved for treating chronic hepatitis B in adolescents and adults. Maureen Jonas, MD, director of the Center for Childhood Liver Disease at Boston Children's Hospital, is studying these medications in children, with the goal of encouraging the FDA to approve their use more broadly in children with chronic hepatitis B.

Liver biopsies provide a great deal of information about how much hepatitis B and/or other conditions have damaged a child’s liver. But the process of taking a biopsy is invasive, can be painful, and is not without risk. Dr. Jonas and colleagues are also investigating an ultrasound-based imaging technology called Fibroscan, which may be able to help doctors assess a child’s liver scarring through a virtual biopsy.