FDA awards grant to metaphore pharmaceuticals to study septic shock in humans

MetaPhore and Saint Louis University researchers aim to explain perplexing blood pressure drop

St. Louis, MO, November 2, 2000 The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has awarded a six-month $100,000 Small Business and Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to MetaPhore Pharmaceuticals to study the dramatic and perplexing blood pressure drop that occurs during septic shock and leads to death in up to 50 percent of cases.

Researchers from MetaPhore and Saint Louis University School of Medicine will study the levels of two key biological markers, one of which directly affects blood pressure, to see if what happens among human subjects correlates with the phenomenon they observed in recent animal studies.

Findings of those studies, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in August, confirmed the role that oxygen free radicals, produced in excess during septic shock particularly superoxide anions play in deactivating the bodys vascular regulation system.

Septic shock, a form of severe sepsis in which arterial blood pressure drops below safe levels, represents a life-threatening situation in which the bodys immune system goes into overdrive and attacks an infection with all possible means. However, the large quantities of oxygen free radicals produced by the body during this internal fight also destroy catecholamines, the natural compounds that help to maintain blood pressure and oxygen delivery to critical organ systems. These compounds include dopamine and norepinephrine, which also are used as drugs to fight hypotension, i.e. low blood pressure, and are widely prescribed to treat this life-threatening aspect of sepsis.

By studying the levels of catecholamines during septic shock, we hope to solve the question of why blood pressure most often continues to plummet in sepsis cases despite using pharmacological agents that should, in fact, increase and maintain vascular pressure and blood f

Contact: Emily Ross
Kupper Parker Communications

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