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Taking the shock out of septic shock.

Taking the shock out of septic shock

Bacteria in the bloodstream can be deadly, overwhelming the body's defenses and causing death from shock-induced organ failure. Scientists studying this difficult-to-treat condition -- called septic shock, of which toxic shock syndrome is an example -- have most recently focused on factors released by a patient's own cells in response to bacterial toxins. One such factor is cachectin, or tumor necrosis factor (SN: 1/17/87, p. 42). Researchers at New York Hospital-Cornell University Medical Center in New York City, Chiron Research Laboratories in Emeryville, Calif., and Rockefeller University in New York City report in the Dec. 17 NATURE that baboons survived if injected with antibody against cachectin two hours prior to injections of bacteria. But other baboons -- either treated with the antibody only one hour before bacteria were injected, or not at all -- died from organ failure. The results indicate that cachectin is a major factor in fatal shock during blood infection, and suggest a possible therapy, say the scientists.
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Publication:Science News
Date:Jan 16, 1988
Words:166
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