Research identifies potential new treatment for sepsis

Sepsis is the leading cause of in-hospital death and there is no specific treatment for it. Now, research led by Dr. Qingping Feng of Western University (London, Canada) suggests a protein called recombinant human annexin A5 may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of this disease. The paper is published in advance, online in Critical Care Medicine.

Sepsis is caused by an overwhelming immune response to an existing infection. It's estimated there are 18 million cases annually worldwide. The mortality rate is 30 to 40 per cent for and 40 to 80 per cent for . Dr. Feng, a professor in the Departments of Physiology and Pharmacology, and Medicine at Western's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and a scientist at Lawson Health Research Institute is particularly interested in how sepsis causes cardiac dysfunction.

Annexin A5 is a lipid-binding protein produced by cells. Using mice with induced sepsis, Dr. Feng, Dr. Xiangru Lu, and Paul Arnold, MSc, studied the effects of annexin A5 on cardiac function and animal survival.

"We treated the septic animals and to our surprise we found a dramatic, significant effect in improving cardiac function during sepsis and improved survival rates in the mice," says Dr. Feng. "We also found it helped even if administered hours after the septic infection. This is important because the delayed treatment simulates what usually happens in a clinical setting. The patient often has had sepsis for several hours, or a few days when they seek treatment."

Annexin A5 is not currently used as a therapeutic agent, but its safety has been tested in humans. It's currently used in imaging studies to identify cells undergoing apoptosis (cell death).

While this study looked at the heart, Dr. Feng believes annexin A5's beneficial properties could apply to multiple organs including liver, lungs and kidney, all which can all be affected by .

A patent for this discovery has been filed by WORLDiscoveries®. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research helped fund the research.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study shows decrease in sepsis mortality rates

Nov 13, 2013

A recent study from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Boston Medical Center (BMC) shows a significant decrease in severe sepsis mortality rates over the past 20 years. Looking at data from patients with severe ...

Surviving sepsis with LECT2

Dec 17, 2012

Failure to launch an adequate immune response may be at the root of septic shock, according to a study published in The Journal of Experimental Medicine on December 17th.

Recommended for you

Monitoring the rise and fall of the microbiome

7 hours ago

Trillions of bacteria live in each person's digestive tract. Scientists believe that some of these bacteria help digest food and stave off harmful infections, but their role in human health is not well understood.

Antioxidant biomaterial promotes healing

15 hours ago

When a foreign material like a medical device or surgical implant is put inside the human body, the body always responds. According to Northwestern University's Guillermo Ameer, most of the time, that response can be negative ...

Immune response may cause harm in brain injuries, disorders

17 hours ago

Could the body's own immune system play a role in memory impairment and cognitive dysfunction associated with conditions like chronic epilepsy, Alzheimer's dementia and concussions? Cleveland Clinic researchers believe so, ...

User comments