Carilion Clinic: Carilion Clinic Joins Sepsis Research

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Thursday, October 4, 2007

Carilion Clinic Joins Sepsis Research

Carilion Clinic's Research Department recently joined an interesting clinical trial. "Sepsis" is a medical term referring to what happens when an infection overwhelms the body. It can be fatal. The body's reaction to the infection ends up causing the damage.
Here is the news release we just sent out:


Carilion Clinic Research has joined a national clinical trial to test the drug’s

safety and effectiveness

ROANOKE, Va. (October 4, 2007) Carilion Clinics’ Department of Research has joined a national study to test the safety and effectiveness of a new treatment for severe Sepsis – an often fatal reaction to severe bacterial infection. Sepsis occurs when a fast-spreading bacterial infection causes the body’s immune system to overreact.

“Our cells have receptors that recognize the presence of bacteria and react – we’ve all seen that happen when a small cut or scrape turns red and begins to swell,” said Dr. Ashok Amin, Carilion Clinic’s Vice President for Research. “If the infection spreads throughout the body through blood, then the whole body reacts.”

As a result the patient suffers from rapid, uncontrolled inflammation, which can cause shock, organ failure and death. Because the reaction occurs so quickly, it can be difficult to control with medications currently available. As a result, the condition is frequently fatal.

“Nationally, more than 200,000 intensive care patients die as a result of sepsis each year, and our options for treating them are very limited,” said Alexander Levitov, MD, the study’s Principal Investigator for Carilion Clinic.

The study, sponsored by Eisai Medical Research Inc., is evaluating the safety and effectiveness of a drug called Eritoran tetrasodium. The drug is designed to prevent inflammation by blocking the interaction between the bacteria and cell receptors.

“The hope is that if we can reduce sepsis-related inflammation and damage, we can treat the infection with antibiotics and the patient will recover,” Levitov said.

The trial is being conducted at sites across the United States and abroad, and will involve 2000 patients.