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March 20, 1996

Reflecting and Regrouping After Failed Trials, Sepsis Researchers Forge On

JAMA. 1996;275(11):823-824. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530350005001

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BEDEVILED in recent years by well-publicized disappointments in clinical trials of anti-sepsis agents, researchers are regrouping and rethinking their approach to the complex problem of sepsis.

"We've had tremendous disappointments in the past," noted Roger Bone, MD, president and chief executive officer of the Medical College of Ohio in Toledo. "There have been a number of drugs that worked like gangbusters in animal trials, but they haven't done anything worthwhile in humans."

But despite these setbacks, a number of sepsis researchers gathered at a recent meeting in Washington, DC, expressed optimism that continued attempts to understand the pathophysiology of sepsis and learn from past mistakes will ultimately pay off in new ways to treat the condition.

Such discoveries would be heartily welcomed by critical care physicians. Sepsis kills about 100 000 of the 400 000 or so patients in the United States who develop the syndrome each year. And in