- Created on Tuesday, 10 September 2013 16:19
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Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) will lead a multicenter $3.2 million National Institutes of Health grant to study whether high doses of vitamin C can effectively treat septic lung injury resulting from infection.
The VCU team will collaborate with colleagues from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, the University of Virginia and Emory University to begin phase 2 clinical trials.
Sepsis is caused by the immune system’s response to a serious infection and is characterized by systemic inflammation, organ dysfunction and organ failure. Four out of 10 septic patients develop lung injury. Despite modern advances in critical care, one-third to half of all severely septic patients die, resulting in millions of deaths globally each year.
“When patients are septic, their bodies lose the ability to control blood pressure,” said Alpha (Berry) Fowler III, M.D.,chair of the Division of Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine and professor of internal medicine in the VCU School of Medicine.
They have found that in pre-clinical studies, vitamin C prevented the inflammatory response in sepsis. They had continued their work with a small clinical trial to study the safety of giving high doses of vitamin C to septic patients. Any side effects had not been found from the vitamin C.
The small phase 1 safety trial showed that patients receiving the high doses of vitamin C, infused intravenously, had significantly improved outcomes with lower rates of mortality, but larger studies are needed.
In July, the investigators were awarded the NIH’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) grant to continue with a phase 2, or proof of concept, trial. This trial, which will begin with patients early next year, will evaluate vitamin C in the patient population and determine efficacy.
VCU and the VCU Medical Center Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research.