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CTSA Program-Supported Researchers Test Low-Cost Treatment for Deadly Illness

Alpha “Berry” Fowler III, M.D.

Alpha “Berry” Fowler III, M.D. Virginia Commonwealth University.

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) researchers have discovered a low-cost and potentially lifesaving treatment for sepsis, a life-threatening condition in which the body’s immune system produces an extreme response to an infection. Support from NCATS’ Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program helped streamline translation of this promising therapy to multisite clinical studies.

The VCU researchers demonstrated in pre-clinical studies that high-dose vitamin C improved survival after sepsis in mice. Vitamin C treatment also reduced inflammation and led to better lung function. The results from a small Phase I study in patients were also positive, but larger studies were necessary to test the effectiveness of high doses of intravenous vitamin C.

Alpha (Berry) Fowler III, M.D., professor of internal medicine at the VCU School of Medicine and principal investigator of the study, credits CTSA Program hub resources and tools with helping move the therapy into a large, multicenter Phase II trial(link is external). This support included grant writing and biostatistics analysis expertise from the NCATS-funded VCU Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research. The sepsis trial will conclude in early 2018. If the treatment is successful, it could save countless lives around the world.

Posted October 2017

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