POSTECH News

New Sepsis Medication Development to Rev Up

2009-08-24 936
POSTECH, joining hands with Dong-A University and Seoul Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., hastens development of a novel sepsis medication materialized with domestic technology.

POSTECH team of Professor Sung Ho Ryu and Professor Yoon-Keun Kim (Department of Life Science), in a joint research with Professor Yoe-Sik Bae of Dong-A University, supported by POSCO and Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs, has developed peptides that effectively prevent progression of sepsis.

In animal experiments, the peptide ligands newly developed for formyl peptide receptor like-1 (FPRL1) in septic mice resulted in a survival rate of 80% whereas those that didn’t get the injection died within 24 hours.

Sepsis, the cause of over 200,000 deaths yearly in the United States alone, is a serious medical condition occurring when host immune defenses fail to combat invading microbes: a pathogen enters the blood vessels and causes a whole-body inflammatory state and blood coagulation, eventually leading to organ dysfunction and death.

The only choice for severe sepsis medication has been the multinational corporation Eli Lilly’s ‘Xigris’ which has a low curing rate and a high price.

The new sepsis treating substance, whose development technology is to be transferred to Seoul Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. based on the agreement signed on January 22, 2009, is low molecular peptides which accelerate the host’s defense mechanism. The therapeutic receptor enhances the bactericidal activity, and inhibits both the production of pro-inflammatory mediators induced by lipopolysaccharide and cecal ligation and puncture induced immune cell apoptosis.

The peptides, being low molecular ones, do not harm the immune system nor have as many side effects. In addition, the composition process is simple, allowing for low cost production.

These advantages, added to the therapeutic and bactericidal properties of the peptides, are presumed to contribute to the development of new and more effective sepsis medications, expectantly to overcome the limits of the existing one.