Sepsis is described as the body’s overactive response to infection that results in injury of its own tissues and organs, which can lead to septic shock, organ failure, and death. Sepsis leads to 6 million deaths globally each year. It is known that levels of a molecule called high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) are lowered during sepsis, and this decrease is associated with worse survival.
In this study involving 200 patients, Dr. Liam Brunham and his team discovered that the cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) gene plays a key role in the drop in HDL-C levels in sepsis. Excitingly, there are already drugs designed against CETP for treating cardiovascular disease. Although these drugs did not have significant benefits for cardiovascular disease, further research will show if these drugs can be repurposed to improve survival rates for sepsis patients.