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Feinstein researcher makes breakthrough

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Posted: Friday, October 11, 2013 10:19 am

Researchers at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research have discovered a protein that can be used to trigger and stop inflammation in patients who are hemorrhaging and suffering from sepsis, North Shore-LIJ Health System officials said.

Dr. Ping Wang, the director of the Laboratory of Surgical Research and head of the Center for Translational Research at Feinstein, and a group of colleagues found that when a patient hemorrhages and sepsis occurs, a protein - known as CIRP - is increased and released into the bloodstream.

Though CIRPs can cause damage to the body’s organs when they trigger inflammation, Wang hypothesized that blocked CIRP activity would reduce inflammation.

In further tests, Wang and his research team found that patients treated with an antibody against CIRP had an increased survival rate during hemorrhage and sepsis. The findings were published in the online version of the medical research journal Nature Medicine.

“In this study, we identified a small peptide that can be potentially developed as anti-CIRP compound,” Wang said in a statement. “What this means for patients is that we may have discovered a molecule that could be used in the future to treat hemorrhage and sepsis and save many lives.”

Officials said 37 million people are admitted to the emergency room each year with traumatic injuries, a leading cause of death in the United States.

Two of the reasons these injuries are so deadly are because of hemorrhaging, or extreme blood loss, and sepsis, which occurs when molecules fighting injury or infection in the bloodstream cause inflammation throughout the body.

Though officials said inflammation is necessary to heal wounds and infections, constant inflammation can result in damage to organs and even death. Sepsis kills 28-50 percent of those who suffer from the condition.

“There’s a great need for new ways to diagnose and treat sepsis,” said Sarah Dunsmore of the National Institute of Health’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences in a statement. “By targeting molecules such as CIRP, which are part of the body’s normal response to stress, we may be able to tailor each patient’s treatment based on how much damage has already been done and which organs are at risk of failure. Dr. Wang’s work may also provide insight into how healthy cells survive extreme temperatures and other stressors, information that might be harnessed to treat a variety of disorders.”

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