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Sepsis discovery could lead to new inflammation treatment

Posted: 15th November 2019 09:17

The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research Professor Ping Wang, MD, and colleagues have discovered a new way to reduce sepsis inflammation, according to a paper published in the latest EMBO Reports.

Sepsis is a body-wide immune system reaction to an infection that is responsible for more than 300,000 deaths in the United States each year and leaves many survivors disabled. Sepsis, which can lead to organ dysfunction or failure, is one of the most common causes of death in hospitals across the country and carries a significant financial burden.

Dr. Wang, senior vice president and chief scientific officer at the Feinstein Institutes, led a team that identified a protein, called extracellular cold-inducible RNA-binding protein (eCIRP), which elevates inflammatory cytokines and chemokines causing severe inflammation and tissue damage. The protein eCIRP has an inflammatory role in sepsis, hemorrhagic shock, and ischemia/reperfusion injuries.

In this most recent study, Dr. Wang and his team identified a small molecule, microRNA 130b-3p, that inhibits eCIRP-induced sepsis inflammation and lung injury.

"Discovering that a microRNA molecule inhibits inflammation might lead to the ability of developing the molecule into an innovative treatment for inflammatory diseases and conditions like sepsis, hemorrhagic shock, and ischemia/reperfusion injuries," said Dr. Wang, lead author of the paper.

Dr. Wang and colleagues' publication in EMBO Reports can be viewed here. Co-authors are Drs. Steven D. Gurien, Monowar Aziz, Hui Jin, Haichao Wang, Mingzhu He, Yousef Al-Abed, Jeffrey M. Nicastro, and Gene F. Coppa.

Dr. Aziz, received a five-year, $1.68 million R01 grant last year from the National Institutes of Health to examine eCIRP's role in increasing inflammation and injury in sepsis, and to potentially develop it into a new therapy. Dr. Gurien was honored this year by the Society of Critical Care Medicine with its Star Research Achievement Award for his efforts to pinpoint specific molecules that can reduce inflammation during sepsis.

"Dr. Wang is a longstanding leader in sepsis research," said Kevin J. Tracey, MD, president and CEO of the Feinstein Institutes. "These new findings suggest a new experimental path for developing therapies so desperately needed for this condition."

About the Feinstein Institutes
The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research is the research arm of Northwell Health, the largest health care provider and private employer in New York. Home to 50 research labs, 2,500 clinical research studies and 4,000 researchers and staff, the Feinstein Institutes is raising the standard of medical innovation through its five institutes of behavioral science, bioelectronic medicine, cancer, health innovations and outcomes, and molecular medicine. We're making breakthroughs in genetics, oncology, brain research, mental health, autoimmunity, and bioelectronic medicine – a new field of science that has the potential to revolutionize medicine. For more information about how we're producing knowledge to cure disease, visit

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