Therapy for Viral Hepatitis and Prevention of Hepatocellular Carcinoma

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My training started in 1971, when I joined the First Department of Medicine of Chiba University, as Dr. Kunio Okuda became chair ofthe department. To acquire training ingeneralpathology, Iapplied for the Intern MatchingProgram and started as aninternin the DepartmentofPathologyofYale University, in 1973.While Iwas achiefresident, Ispent 10months in Dr. GeraldKlatskin'sofficestudyingthe com- plete set of his famous liver biopsy samples (the Klatskin Collection). In 1976, I movedtoJohnWesleyHospital, where therewasagroup from the USC (University ofSouthern California) Liver Unit, to obtain further pathology training under the guidanceofDr. Robert L. Peters. Those experiences have given me ample opportu- nity to see the differences between the United States and Japan. Ofcourse, 28 years ago in downtown Los Angeles there were enormous num- bers ofpatients suffering from typical alcoholic liver diseases. Now in Japan, in contrast, we have an enormous number ofpatients suffering from hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), due in particular to hepatitis C viral infection. Last year, in the DepartmentofGastroenterology at the University ofTokyo, we had approximately 500 admissions due to HCC. Thus, we have an urgent need to prevent the develop- ment ofHCC and to provide better treatment for such patients through a basic un- derstanding ofvirology, clinical features, and treatment modalities. The first single-topic conference on TherapyofViral Hepatitis and Prevention ofHepatocellular Carcinoma was organized by the Japan Society ofHepatology (Kiwamu Okita, Director General) and was held November 14-15,2002, near Mt. Fuji. Thisbook,which is asummaryofthe meeting, helps toupdate relevantinforma- tion on this vital topic. June 28, 2003 Masao Ornata, M.D.