Doctors in Japan have given the first-time prescription to westerners to treat chronic hepatitis C, which can be deadly in high doses.
Dr Hideo Nakamura, who heads the university’s department of medicine, said in a statement the patients were receiving a treatment that can help prevent the disease from reoccurring.
The drug, called piroxicam, is a combination of the antiviral drugs pirocillin and natalizumab.
It is approved for the treatment of acute and chronic hepatitisC, which kills more than 40,000 people each year in the US.
“We want to give hope to those who are waiting for the right prescription,” Dr Nakamura said in the statement.
“In order to do so, we are working on a trial involving Western patients, so that we can determine the best way to give it to them.”
The drug was first tested in patients with chronic hepatitisD.
But because of the drug’s side effects, it is only available to patients who have already received a treatment.
The treatment has been tested in children and adults, and is currently being tested in adults.
The patients in the trial will receive the drug for a total of three months, and then will need to have their hepatitisC cleared.
In a study published last year in Science Translational Medicine, Dr Nakasaki’s team also showed that the drug can help people who have previously contracted the virus in the womb and have not been able to get it into the blood stream.
“With this treatment, patients are getting a chance to get the drug in their system that is needed to prevent reoccurrence of hepatitisC,” he said.
“We believe that this is a breakthrough in the field of medicine.”