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Researchers Identify Gene That Triggers Sepsis, Opens Door for New Treatment

by Dr. Trupti Shirole on October 26, 2015 at 4:28 PM
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 Researchers Identify Gene That Triggers Sepsis, Opens Door for New Treatment

Sepsis is a severe whole-body infection that occurs as a complication to an existing infection. If not treated quickly, it can lead to septic shock and multiple organ failure, with death rates as high as 50%. In a breakthrough discovery, scientists have now identified a gene that triggers the inflammatory condition. This finding could help opening the door for the development of new treatment of the lethal disease.

Study co-author Chris Goodnow from the Australian National University (ANU) said, "This finding is a key that could potentially unlock our ability to shutdown this killer disease before it gets to a life-threatening stage."

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Researchers knew that sepsis occurs when molecules known as lipopolysaccharides on the surface of some bacteria infiltrate cells, triggering an immune response that causes the cells to self-destruct. But exactly how this self-destruct button was pressed remained a mystery.

The research team found the protein Gasdermin-D plays a critical role in the pathway to sepsis. The investigators then screened thousands of genes with a large-scale forward genetics discovery platform and in a little over a year isolated the gene that produces Gasdermin-D.

Professor Simon Foote, director of The John Curtin School of Medical Research (JCSMR) at ANU said, "Isolating the gene so quickly was a triumph for the team."

The study was published in Nature.

Source: IANS
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