SALT LAKE CITY (December 20, 2012) — Alliance Health Networks, the leading social networking company serving consumers and the healthcare industry, today announced the addition of Dr. Peter Ruane, prominent HIV and HCV clinical trials doctor and founder of Lightsource Medical, as a new community advocate on the Hepatitis Connect social network.
Hepatitis Connect is part of Alliance Health's growing portfolio of social networks currently serving more than 1.5 million registered users across some 50 condition- specific sites. Hepatitis Connect aims to empower people infected with HCV to more actively manage their health through personal connections, powerful tools, and quality resources. Community and patient advocates offer network members deep insights and experience dealing with a particular disease or condition.
"From the beginning, our top priority at Alliance Health has been to create an online community that provides actionable information with a personal touch, and one of the ways we accomplish that is through our patient advocates," said Dan Hickey, senior vice president of product at Alliance Health Networks. "What is so fascinating in the case of Dr. Ruane is that he was a physician in the clinical trial that led to a successful outcome for John Lavitt, our patient advocate at Hepatitis Connect. It adds a new dimension by demonstrating that a clinical trial can have a meaningful impact on a person's life today, not just down the road."
￼A specialist in infectious diseases and HIV medicine, Dr. Ruane has been conducting clinical trials for HIV since 1992, many of which have shifted to new HCV drugs and HCV-HIV trials to find co-existing regimens to simultaneously treat both conditions.
Deaths from hepatitis C have increased steadily in the United States in recent years, in part because many people don't know they're infected. In fact, according to 1999 to 2007 data reviewed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more Americans have died from HCV than from HIV. Unlike HIV, Hepatitis C is curable. With rapidly advancing results coming from research and clinical trials with new drugs that target the virus directly, there is great hope.
"Patients are already gaining considerable benefits from the new regimens of protease inhibitors that were approved in 2011 by the FDA," said Dr. Ruane. "But these drugs are just the beginning. On Hepatitis Connect, I hope to keep the ￼community up-to-date on the new options, especially clinical trials as they become ￼available and offer my thoughts on trials in general and why participating in a clinical ￼trial may be a good choice for a person to make."
As Patient Advocate for Hepatitis Connect, John Lavitt is proud to have Dr. Ruane on board as part of the community's team. "When I went through the clinical trial with Dr. Ruane," explained Lavitt, "his support and expertise helped me survive the difficult challenges and come out the other side of a tough experience that changed my life forever and for the better."
About Alliance Health Networks
Alliance Health Networks is building a free and independent social engagement platform that gives people the power to navigate their personal health journey. The company owns and operates more than 50 social networks and 20 mobile versions serving over 1.5 million registered members. Alliance Health leverages social networks to help consumers more actively manage their care through personal connections, powerful tools, and deeper insights. The company's investors include New World Ventures, Physic Ventures, Highway 12 Ventures, EPIC Ventures and Voyager Capital. For more information, visit: www.alliancehealthnetworks.com.
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Alliance Health Networks