William F. Balistreri, MD
Professor; Director Emeritus, Pediatric Liver Care Center 
Medical Director Emeritus, Liver Transplantation 
Department of Pediatrics; Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition

Description of Research

Dr. Balistreri is investigating therapeutic options for children with liver diseases – specifically, viral hepatitis and cholestasis. He completed two multicenter studies testing the efficacy of antiviral therapies in randomized, placebo-controlled trials. The first study was to assess the safety and efficacy of PEG-2a Interferon (IFN) combined with ribavirin (compared to PEG-2a IFN alone) in the treatment of children with chronic hepatitis C. The end points of this study were to determine the sustained viral response (SVR) rate, the effects of PEG-2aIFN on body mass index, body composition, and linear growth, and short- and long-term outcomes (health-related quality of life, cognitive, developmental and psychological functioning). The second study was a Clinical Trial of Adefovir in Children with Chronic Hepatitis B. This study examined the safety and efficacy of Adefovir vs. placebo in inducing clearance of HBV (loss of HBeAg) in chronically infected children. Currently, Dr. Balistreri is involved in two multicenter studies. The first study is evaluating the clinical and biochemical consequences of discontinuation of ursodeoxycholic acid in children with primary sclerosing cholangitis. The second study is examining the safety and tolerability of Urocarb for the treatment of pruritus associated with cholestatic liver disease.

Collaborations and Core Use

Dr. Balistreri collaborates with Dr. Leonis regarding the role of antiviral therapy for HCV in children. In addition, he works with Drs. Kohli and Xanthakos identifying the mechanisms of fatty liver disease in children with obesity. Dr. Balistreri also collaborates with Dr. Miethke on the study of discontinuation of ursodeoxycholic acid in children with primary sclerosing cholangitis. Projection of Core use: Biostatistical services.