Hepatitis C cure co-creator Dr. Luis Balart dead at 70

Luis A. Balart, MD, died of leukemia Jan. 14 in Boston, The Times-Picayune reports.

During his 40-plus year career, he notably developed a hepatitis C treatment, and served as chief of gastroenterology at Baton Rouge-based Louisiana State University's and New Orleans-based Tulane University's medical schools.

Thirty years ago, Dr. Balart and his team started studying hepatitis C. They ultimately developed a 12-week oral therapy that had a 95 percent cure rate.

Born in Havana, Cuba, his family came to America in 1961, settling in New Orleans. He earned his medical degree at Louisiana State University, completed a residency at Philadelphia-based Naval Regional Medical Center and New Orleans-based Edward Hebert Hospital and a fellowship at New Orleans-based Ochsner Clinic.

Dr. Balart enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving in the reserves for 20 years.

He is a former American College of Gastroenterology president and master fellow and helped establish the Chronic Liver Disease Foundation.

Dr. Balart is survived by his wife, sons, daughter, sister and 13 grandchildren.

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