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May 5, 1993

The Search for a Magic Bullet to Fight Sepsis

JAMA. 1993;269(17):2266-2267. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03500170096041

Recently, excitement among the clinical researchers trying to identify additional treatments for sepsis and its associated disorders reached a fever pitch after the publication of two controlled, multicenter clinical trials of monoclonal antibodies against endotoxin. The results of these trials indicated that these antibodies could improve survival in some subgroups of patients suspected of having gram-negative sepsis.1,2

See also p 2221.

These trials followed an earlier study that showed that antisera from volunteers injected with the J5 Escherichia coli mutant could improve survival in patients with gram-negative sepsis.3 Because of these studies, it was widely perceived that Food and Drug Administration approval of one or both of these antibodies would be imminent following publication of the controlled clinical trial results. Clinicians and clinical investigators attempted to develop guidelines for the appropriate use of these therapies—albeit among patients most likely to benefit—so that if approved, they would be used