Tuesday, 13 September 2016
Sepsis is a life-threatening condition which occurs when the body’s immune system goes into overdrive as it tries to fight an infection. This ‘overreaction’ causes widespread inflammation, blood vessel leakage and abnormal blood clotting, resulting in organ and tissue damage. In severe cases, sepsis induces shock, which is the inadequate delivery of oxygen to vital organs due to low blood pressure. Septic shock is often fatal, particularly if not recognised and treated early.
Every year, 20 to 30 million people around the world are estimated to be affected by sepsis, with over 6 million cases of neonatal and early childhood sepsis and 100,000 cases of maternal sepsis. 1
Despite advances in modern medicine, sepsis remains the primary cause of death from infection, with hospital mortality rates of between 30 and 60%.2
Ferring is committed to developing innovative critical care products and has been investing in septic shock research for over a decade.
On World Sepsis Day, we’d like to thank the Ferring employees striving to make a difference in septic shock.
Here are three of their personal stories:
Dr. Kazimierz Wisniewski, Senior Research Scientist, Ferring Research Institute (FRI)
In 2003, my team was tasked with investigating new solutions for the treatment of septic shock. Ferring has deep knowledge and experience with peptides, so our focus has been to use this peptide expertise in our approach.
If our research is ever translated into a treatment option for patients with septic shock, it will be the defining moment of my career.
As discovery scientists, we are so far removed from the patient, but it would be enormously fulfilling for me to know that I played a fundamental role in saving many thousands of lives.
Dr Johan Masure, Senior Global R&D Project Director, Ferring Pharmaceuticals
I trained as a medical doctor and have always been driven by the desire to make a positive impact on patients’ lives.
Septic shock is a very serious disease with high mortality rates. It can happen to anyone, at any age, and I’ve seen its devastating effects both professionally and personally.
My 15-year old son recently lost a friend to septic shock, after what seemed initially to be an ordinary cold. It’s heart-breaking, and it’s unacceptable that this is happening in 2016.
As an industry we must invest more to find treatments that increase people’s chances of survival, particularly as cases of sepsis and septic shock are increasing.
In January 2015, I took over the leadership of a development project for septic shock. Developing a new treatment takes time and has a high risk of failure but, together with world renowned experts in this field, the team here at Ferring are striving to get it right.
Dr Nis Agerlin Windeløv, Medical Director, Ferring Pharmaceuticals
As a doctor, it’s always upsetting to lose a patient, but it’s especially distressing when they have successfully overcome other complicated illnesses or injuries, only to die from septic shock.
One case that really got under my skin was a one-year old girl who died of septic shock after fighting so hard to beat other health complications.
I have spoken to hundreds of patients and relatives in intensive care units, and it never gets easier. It’s especially difficult with septic shock, which is unpredictable and often fatal.
Sepsis is extremely complicated to treat because it’s linked to such a range of different conditions. As patients survive more complicated illnesses and accidents, and as rates of antibiotic resistance rise and the population ages, cases are only going to increase.
I joined the pharmaceutical industry because I believe that I can ultimately help more people through research and innovation than I could ever help as a physician.
The doctors I’m working with today have high hopes for our research and so do I, particularly as I’ve seen first-hand how much a new treatment is needed on the ground.
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