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Study begins to reveal clues to the cause and progression of sepsis

PITTSBURGH, Aug. 13 Not all patients with sepsis mount the same immune response, even when they look the same clinically, according to findings from the first large-scale natural history study of sepsis. The results, published by University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine researchers in the August 13/27 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, indicate that past interpretations of how the immune system responds to infection interpretations on which many experimental treatments were based were incorrect.

This year, nearly 1 million Americans will develop sepsis, a result of the bodys inflammatory response to an infection, which can lead to organ failure and death. More than 30 percent will die, making sepsis the 10th leading cause of death. While incidence rates of sepsis have been steadily increasing over the years, little is known about the condition. Past investigational treatments have been based on data from small studies, and most of these therapies have failed.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh believe that these treatments failed, at least in part, because of insufficient data to fully understand the complexity and variability of the inflammatory response to sepsis. To gain a better understanding into the mechanisms behind the condition, the researchers conducted the Genetic and Inflammatory Markers of Sepsis study (GenIMS), which collected extensive clinical and laboratory data geared to help analyze the risks of a person developing sepsis and dying. Data were collected from 2,320 subjects who came to hospital emergency rooms at 28 sites nationwide.

With sepsis, were dealing with one of the deadliest diseases, yet we know so little about the condition. The situation is similar to what this country experienced over 50 years ago with heart disease and stroke we knew that too many people were dying of cardiovascular disease, but we didnt know enough about the disease to effectively treat and prevent it, sa
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Contact: Jocelyn Uhl Duffy
UhlJH@upmc.edu
412-647-3555
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
13-Aug-2007


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