Doctors hope to repurpose cholesterol drug to treat often-deadly sepsis reactions

“Of the sickest patients that arrive at St. Paul’s Hospital, about two-thirds to three-quarters are there due to severe infection,” said lead researcher John Boyd, founder of Cyon Therapeutics. “That’s around 500 patients a year and half of them will die. It’s even worse in the developing world, where six to eight million people die of sepsis every year.”

Boyd and his colleagues hope to exploit the effects of anti-PCSK9 biologics — a new class of drugs approved last year to lower LDL cholesterol — to “pull” the toxic byproducts of bacterial infection from the blood in an effort to reduce the number of people who end up on life support and potentially save lives.

Bacterial toxins naturally bind to LDL cholesterol, which can be flushed from the bloodstream by the liver and destroyed.

Randy Shore reports

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