January 24, 2017

Researchers find protein that weakens severe sepsis immune reaction

By Sharon Rosen

There are no effective treatments for sepsis, a serious inflammatory reaction to infection, which can lead to death for up to half of the 3 million Americans afflicted each year. Sepsis most commonly occurs in young or older patients, whose immune system is unable to function normally to fight infection.

Researchers at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Florida have identified a key molecule that may help protect the body’s central nervous system against this life-threatening infection. Based on that discovery, published in Molecular Psychiatry, Mayo investigators are searching for an agent that boosts that protective response against sepsis and prevents the inflammation from spreading throughout the body.

Dr. John Fryer

“Few people realize how prevalent sepsis is and what a devastating immune reaction it causes. Our goal is to help the immune system react properly, and our discovery offers us an exciting prospective avenue for therapy,” says senior study investigator, John Fryer, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Neuroscience, at Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus and assistant dean of the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

Dr. Fryer is the recipient of a Gerstner Family Early Career Award, a grant that helped support this study. The Gerstner Family Foundation established the Gerstner Family Career Development Awards in Individualized Medicine so that early career investigators receive important seed money to conduct research to predict, prevent, treat and cure disease using individualized medicine approaches.

In addition, this work was supported by a generous gift from Gary and Marilyn Gilmer and the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine.

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Tags: #Dr. John Fryer, #Gerstner Family Early Career Award, #Mayo Clinic Campus in Florida, #Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, #PrecisionMedicine, #sepsis, center for individualized medicine, mayo clinic, medical research, Uncategorized

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