The name of the new drug is "XIGRIS" -- your friend's family/advocate/designated bitch needs to force the docs to use this if they balk. It may be your friend's last chance. See story below:
New drug a potent weapon against severe blood infections Bill Bascom had some flu symptoms in March that kept getting worse -- so bad, in fact, that the San Jose resident went to the emergency department at Good Samaritan Hospital. He was quickly diagnosed with sepsis, a severe bacterial infection of the bloodstream.
Until recently that would have been a major problem because there wasn't any direct treatment available for the syndrome. But thanks to a new drug called Xigris that hit the market this past November, Mr. Bascom was quickly treated in the intensive care unit and started to feel better the next day.
"I'm in good shape, I take care of myself, exercise, eat right and I don't smoke. I think that helped too," says the 40-year-old San Jose resident.
"The bug he got was strong, and his system just couldn't keep up," says Dr. Msalam Sara, a pulmonologist at Good Samaritan Hospital who treated Mr. Bascom. "This drug helped break the cascade of the toxins."
Sepsis is widespread but remains unknown to most people. Sepsis is the 11th leading cause of death in the country. It kills about 225,000 Americans a year, more than stroke, breast cancer and lung cancer combined. Every year, the syndrome affects about 750,000 Americans at an estimated cost of $17 billion.
Dr. Sara says Xigris is one tool among many to help physicians fight this illness, but quick diagnosis is necessary to get the drug to the patient soon as possible.
Sepsis can begin with an infection from something as simple as a cut or something as severe as meningitis. That triggers the release of substances called immune modulators, which affect the lining of the blood vessels. That causes blood vessels to become inflamed and activate the body's blood clotting system.
Blood clots can then sometimes form within vital organs, causing them to shut down from blocked blood flow and lack of oxygen. As the damage spreads, more organs fail, which could result in death.
An estimated 30 percent of people with sepsis die, despite treatment with intravenous antibiotics and supportive care like oxygen and kidney dialysis.
In clinical trails, Xigris reduced mortality rates by 50 percent. People who have received the drug also needed less alternative treatments such as dialysis and oxygen, says Dr. Alan Chausow, pulmonary physician at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View.
Xigris isn't a cure-all for every bad blood infection. It was approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of adult patients with severe sepsis who have an especially high risk of death, as measured by a scoring system based on their general health and the severity of their illness.
Dr. Chausow started using Xigris soon after it was approved.
"It's an exciting drug," Dr. Chausow says. "The data supporting this drug is excellent."
Several other drugs have been used in clinical trails over the years, but none have worked, Dr. Chausow says. Sixteen companies tried to find a treatment for sepsis over the years and failed. It took Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. 20 years to develop Xigris, says Dan Collins, a spokesman for the company.
After the first 10 failures, researchers began to doubt they might ever find a effective treatment. Most of the companies focused on treating the inflammation or coagulation that results from sepsis. Xigris goes a step further and treats both inflammation and coagulation to bring them in balance and interrupt the cascade effect in the blood, says Mr. Collins.
The new treatment is a genetically engineered version of a human protein, Activated Protein C, which interferes with some of the body's harmful responses to severe infection, including the formation of blood clots, according to the FDA.
Because Activated Protein C interferes with blood clotting, the most serious side effect in the patient is excess bleeding, which occurred in 2.4 percent of the patients in clinical trials.
As a result, the drug should not be used on patients who have active internal bleeding, or who are more likely to bleed because of certain medical conditions including recent strokes, recent head or spinal surgery or severe head trauma, according to the FDA.
Dr. Chausow says physicians at El Camino Hospital have established a protocol for patients who receive the drug because of such side effects.
"People think this is a miracle drug, but it's not. But it does give us extra mileage with treating this disease," says Dr. Sara.
By Troy May
Susan Guberman-Garcia, Attorney at Law. Phone: 510-792-2639
Fax/Voicemail:: 510-405-2016 Email: email@example.com