OSU grant allows researchers to continue fight against 'hidden killer'

July 3rd, 2014

Oregon State University researchers, among them principal investigator and ONAMI member Adam Higgins, have won grants that will help them study the treatment and prevention of sepsis. The blood poisoning condition is fatal to more people in the U.S. each year than AIDS, breast cancer and prostate cancer combined, according to OSU. In that sense, it’s called the “hidden killer.” 

OSU’s researchers say they’ll spend the National Science Foundation’s $200,000 award to hone a new technology they’ve developed to help combat the condition.

Sepsis can turn simple infections into whole-body inflammation. In severe cases, it can lead to multiple organ failure and death.
The OSU team has created a treatment from microchannel technology and special coatings. The resulting small device allows for problematic endotoxins to be removed.

The technology may provide better ways to treat the condition than antibiotics.

“More work remains to be done, and the support from the National Science Foundation will be instrumental in that,” said Adam Higgins, an assistant professor in the OSU School of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering, in a release. “When complete, we believe this technology will treat sepsis effectively at low cost, or even prevent it when used as a prophylactic treatment.”

Sepsis can develop after injuries that leave open wounds, among other causes.

This story is based on the original 6/26/2014 Portland Business Journal article by Andy Giegerich. See also OSU News & Research Communications.