Pitt to receive $8.4 million from NIH to determine best treatments for sepsis

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 2 -- Sepsis is among the top causes of death in the United States, affecting 750,000 Americans each year, of which 30 percent die. It also is one of the most expensive diseases, with a cost to U.S. hospitals of $17 billion each year. To investigate and determine the best methods for treating this life-threatening disease, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), one of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded an $8.4 million, five-year grant to the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine to head a multidisciplinary, multi-center consortium.

The Protocolized Care for Early Septic Shock (ProCESS) study will attempt to determine if there is a "golden hour" in the management of sepsis and septic shock when a prompt, rigorous, standardized treatment regimen can be used to improve clinical outcomes and halt the cascade of events that often lead to organ failure and death. The study takes a cue from the realm of coronary care, which has significantly reduced mortality from acute coronary diseases and dramatically reduced the costs of care by determining such best practices.

The investigators, led by Derek C. Angus, M.D., M.P.H., professor and vice chair of research, department of critical care medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, share a sense of urgency about their research. They hope that the project will generate useful and comprehensive data on the clinical and biological aspects of standardized treatment for septic shock data that can have an immediate impact on and improve the care of the critically ill.

"While we have quite an extensive understanding of the causes and course of sepsis, we have very little empirical data telling us how and when to treat this terrible disease," said Dr. Angus. "Sepsis has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, taking as many lives as heart attacks do. It is essential that we conduct this kind of study to identify the ideal

Contact: Jocelyn Uhl Duffy
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

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