NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), a Canadian national drug development and commercialization center, said today that it has spun out a company, Sepset Biosciences, that's developing a rapid diagnostic blood test with an objective to provide early, targeted treatment for sepsis.
The blood test, which is founded on work led by University of British Columbia researcher Robert Hancock, detects a unique biomarker signature based on the body's immune response, rather than the presence of a pathogen.
"The results of initial clinical studies show this to be a very promising approach, so we are now in the process of advancing to larger multi-center, multi-country trials," Hancock said in a statement.
Sepsis, the body's severe inflammatory response to an infection, is most commonly caused by bacteria, but it can also be caused by fungi, viruses, or parasites. Current methods to diagnose it may take more than 24 hours after a patient enters the emergency ward, according to the CDRD — by then the patient may already be well on their way towards tissue damage, organ failure, and death. For every three-hour delay in diagnosis, the rate of mortality and morbidity grows by almost 25 percent.
A number of companies including Roche, BioMérieux, T2Biosystems, OpGen, and Accelerate Diagnostics are either developing or already have advanced sepsis detection systems.
In addition to benefiting patients, accurate, early detection can result in significant savings in healthcare costs because of the reduction in the length of the hospital and intensive care stay. Spending on sepsis accounts for more than $20 billion annually in healthcare costs in the US alone, according to CDRD. It contributes to more than 1.6 million hospital visits annually in the US and is the most common cause of death in the intensive care unit. The medical condition leads to the hospitalization of more than 18 million people around the world every year, according to CDRD, and around one in three of these patients will die due to complications related to severe sepsis.