My long-standing clinical and research interest within the array of infectious diseases are HIV and Hepatitis C, which often occur together. Over the past decade, I have been involved with improving the treatments and outcomes for Hepatitis C. We’ve gone from a 50 per cent cure rate with toxic therapy twenty years ago, to a 98 per cent cure rate today with pills that are as safe as placebo in double-blind clinical trials. One of my goals is to eliminate Hepatitis C in part by using existing health databases to flag people at risk and to ensure those diagnosed with the disease have prompt access to treatment. Patients in opiate substitution programs and prison inmates are priority populations for hepatitis C elimination. I have trained inner city pharmacists to treat hepatitis C in patients on opiate substitution therapy.
Dr. Stephen Shafran is an internationally recognized infectious disease expert who has conducted dozens of clinical trials of anti-infective drugs and vaccines. After receiving his MD from the University of Toronto, he trained in internal medicine at the University of Toronto and in infectious diseases at University of British Columbia. He had an initial academic appointment at the University of Saskatchewan from 1986-1989 and was recruited to the University of Alberta in 1989. He was promoted to professor in 1998.
Leadership and Collaborations:
Dr. Shafran is the former director of the Infectious Diseases Training Program, director of undergraduate education for the Department of Medicine and director of the Division of Infectious Diseases (1998-2008, 2014-2015). He has served the Canadian Infectious Disease Society (now the Association of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Disease Canada) in several capacities, including as president. He has had a long involvement with the CIHR Canadian HIV Trials Network, co-authoring the organization’s guidelines for HIV/Hepatitis C management and treatment in adults, and was on the Scientific Advisory Committee for HIV Therapies for Health Canada. He is a consultant to Correctional Services Canada.
Dr. Shafran was a member of the Immigration Medical Advisory Committee (Citizenship and Immigration Canada). In addition, he represented the Association of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases on the organizing committee of the 2004 Canadian Consensus Guidelines on the Management of Viral Hepatitis.
Dr. Shafran's research focuses on clinical trials of antiviral agents and viral vaccines in adults. He is internationally recognized for an important clinical trial, called CTN 010, that led to a revision of the treatment for people with HIV who contract disseminated Mycobacterium avium complex bacterial infection. He has published over 120 publications and over 140 abstracts in such peer-reviewed journals as the New England Journal of Medicine, Gastroenterology, Annals of Internal Medicine, Clinical Infectious Diseases, Journal of Infectious Diseases, Journal of Hepatology, Journal of Viral Hepatitis, Antiviral Therapy and Canadian Journal of Public Health. He received an award from the American Society for Microbiology for the best abstract in the subject of antiviral therapy.
Dr. Shafran’s outpatient practice is focused primarily on HIV, HCV, and HBV infections. He also provides hepatitis and HIV care to inmates in two federal prisons in Northern Alberta and is a consultant to Correctional Services Canada. One of his recent initiatives, funded by Gilead Canada, identifies and treats people with Hepatitis C who also have HIV in order to stop Hepatitis C transmission and reduce liver damage.