News | March 26, 2015

Feinstein Institute Researchers Discover A New Treatment That Protects Against Acute Lung Injury During Sepsis

Manhasset, NY (Marketwired) - Investigators at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research have discovered that an antibody -- a protein in the human body that can trigger and mediate inflammation -- can be used as a treatment to protect against acute lung injury (ALI) during sepsis. The findings were published in Critical Care.

Sepsis occurs when molecules released into the bloodstream to fight an injury or infection trigger inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation is necessary for maintaining good health -- without inflammation, wounds and infections would never be controlled or heal. However, persistent and constant inflammation often results in organ dysfunction or damage, leading to patient death -- 28 to 50 percent of people who suffer from severe sepsis die from the condition. When a patient experiences organ dysfunction, one of the first complications is ALI, which causes fluid to build up in the lungs, reducing levels of oxygen needed to maintain their function. Many people who develop ALI don't survive, and those who do often experience lasting damage to their lungs.

Osteopontin (OPN) can be harmful in various inflammatory diseases although it has other biological functions, such as promoting bone formation. However, the role of OPN in ALI caused by sepsis was unexplored. Feinstein Institute scientists have been addressing questions related to sepsis and researching ways to treat it for years. As a result of this effort, Ping Wang, MD, director for the Laboratory of Surgical Research and head of the Center for Translational Research at the Feinstein Institute, and his colleagues have been studying the hypothesis that inhibition of excessive OPN activity would protect against ALI during sepsis.

Dr. Wang and his colleagues found that treatment with an OPN-neutralizing antibody to block OPN activity significantly reduced inflammation in the lungs in patients with sepsis. The findings imply that the inhibiting OPN activity, such as using an OPN-neutralizing antibody, can be a new therapeutic strategy to prevent sepsis.

"The findings of this study are exciting and promising," said Dr. Wang. "They show that we have discovered a new treatment that could prevent acute lung injury in patients suffering from sepsis -- this could save many lives."

About The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research
Headquartered in Manhasset, NY, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research is home to international scientific leaders in many areas including Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, psychiatric disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, sepsis, human genetics, pulmonary hypertension, leukemia, neuroimmunology, medicinal chemistry, and bioelectronic medicine. The Feinstein Institute, part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, ranks in the top 6th percentile of all National Institutes of Health grants awarded to research centers. For more information, visit

Source: North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System