Sepsis is a life-threatening medical condition caused by an intense immune response to infection. The natural chemicals released in the bloodstream to combat infection trigger system-wide inflammation, which can lead to multi-organ failure and death. One of the prominent issues with sepsis is correctly diagnosing and treating the source of the infection in a timely manner. Standard treatment for sepsis involves administering broad-spectrum antibiotics. However, issues with this manner of treatment include the lack of specificity with the antibiotics and a requirement for extremely high doses in order to render the treatment effective.
Due to the nonspecific symptoms of sepsis that overlap with a multitude of other conditions making sepsis difficult to diagnose, it has been estimated that the incidence of sepsis is severely underreported. Even so, current estimates suggest that sepsis occurs in approximately 2% of all hospitalizations and affects around 750,000 people a year in the United States alone. Additionally, sepsis is the second leading cause of death in non-coronary intensive care units (ICU) and the tenth leading cause of death nationwide. Consequently, the total cost of care per patient with sepsis reaches up to $50,000 — an economic burden costing the U.S. $17 billion a year.
CAR represents a new paradigm in sepsis treatment that would address the issues of both high dosing and lack of specificity in septic patients, as well as aid in reducing the high mortality rate of U.S. patients affected by sepsis every year. Preclinical animal studies have shown promising results that demonstrate CAR’s ability to dramatically improve survival rates when co-administered with currently available existing drugs at highly reduced doses. As there are no existing treatments for sepsis that use a peptide to enhance previously approved therapies, CAR represents a highly targeted, innovative therapy designed to improve survival rates in septic patients without a need for high therapeutic dosing.
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