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Blood poisoning drug hope

7th June 2010

Researchers from the University of Glasgow have found a way to reduce the danger of blood poisoning in mice.

bloodtransfusion1

The scientists are hopeful that their discovery could pave the way to create a new treatment for sepsis.

Septic shock affects 20 million people worldwide annually. Statistics show that around half of people infected with the condition die from it.

Around 31,000 people every year experience septic shock in England and Wales. It provokes a massive immune response to infection which causes organs to fail.

A person with sepsis will need to be treated in intensive care so that the infection can be overcome while their organs are kept working.

The researchers used evidence from their previous study involving an enzyme known as SphK1.

The enzyme is activated when septic shock produces inflammation in a person's body. The team found that blocking this enzyme with drugs in experiments on mice led to a reduction in deaths.

The study's head, Professor Alirio Melendez from the University of Glasgow, said drugs which blocked the enzyme could lead to new treatment methods.

"The incidence of sepsis is on the increase and clinical treatments are still inadequate so a medical breakthrough of this kind is timely and will hopefully lead to a way to treat this killer condition," he added.


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