The Cellular and Organic Physiopathology of Oxidative Stress Research Group, directed by professor Federico Pallardó, is developing a diagnostic-prognostic kit for septic shock called ‘HistShock’, which will reduce the number of deaths, currently at more than 5 million annually, caused by sepsis.
Dr. Carlos Romá-Mateo, one of the members of the research team, explained that “sepsis is an organism’s negative response to a prolonged infection that can lead to septic shock, resulting in death in around 30%–50% of cases. It is a particularly serious problem in children and the elderly and is difficult to diagnose because it is influenced by multiple factors. Therefore, clinicians need tools for its early diagnosis”.
“Some ‘biomarkers can indicate the point at which sepsis processes start, and some of these are detected by ‘HistShock’” he continued.
The kit is based on the detection of proteins called histones which are released into the bloodstream during inflammatory processes caused by an infection. Their concentration increase as sepsis progresses and reaches very high levels in the case of septic shock.
The technique the team developed measures histone levels using mass spectrometry. The kit uses an internal standard to measure these histones and will be complemented with software that translates the spectrometry results into parameters for easy use in clinical settings. Its use will allow the types of medicines used and the doses to treat infections in each patient to be adjusted with precision to avoid septic shock. It will also reduce costs with respect to current techniques.
The project was one of thirty selected by the Foundation for Innovation and Prospective Health in Spain (FIPSE), within the framework of the international mentoring program developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) through its IDEA2 Global program, which will end next December.
“Currently we are validating the technique in a larger cohort of patients and we intend to transfer this technology and market it” said Dr. Carlos Romá-Mateo.
The research also includes members of the Intensive Medicine Unit at the University Clinical Hospital of Valencia (HCUV), Department of Physiology at the University of Valencia, Rare Diseases CIBER, European University of Valencia, and the EpiDisease SL spin off.