FYI from the NHLBI Index

May 2008: Vol. 9, Issue 1
In the News

News from Capitol Hill

Congress Passes Newborn Screening Legislation

The House and Senate have passed legislation (S.1858) to establish grant programs for education and outreach on newborn screening and follow-up care. If signed into law by the President, the gNewborn Screening Saves Lives Act of 2008h would authorize new programs intended to evaluate and improve newborn screening.

Senate Passes the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act

On April 24, 2008, the Senate passed S. 358 a bill to prohibit discrimination by health insurers and employers on the basis of predictive genetic information. If signed into law by the President, the bill would prohibit employers from requiring genetic tests or using genetic information when making personnel decisions and would prohibit insurers from using genetic information to set premiums or make decisions on eligibility for coverage.

Honoring the Contributions of Clinical Trial Participants

A resolution to honor the contributions of patient participants in clinical trials, H. Res. 248, was introduced in the House by Representative Rick Boucher (D-VA) on March 15, 2008.

National Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month

A resolution supporting the goals and ideals of National Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month, S. Res. 510, was introduced in the Senate by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) on April 10, 2008.

Modified 5/30/08
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Recent Advance from the NHLBI

Safer Treatment for Sepsis

Sepsis is a systemic response to infection, which can lead to organ failure and in its severe form is fatal in 30 to 50 percent of patients. Treatment with activated protein C (APC) reduces mortality of patients with severe sepsis, but APC also has anticoagulant properties that increase the risk of severe bleeding.

Building upon results from previous studies showing that the mechanisms of APCfs anticoagulant activity are partially distinct from the mechanisms of its cell-protective therapeutic activity, NHLBI-funded scientists were able to engineer APC variants that selectively reduced the anticoagulant activity of APC while retaining its therapeutic properties. In a mouse model of severe sepsis, an APC variant that had normal therapeutic activity but 10 percent less anticoagulant activity retained its ability to reduce mortality while also dramatically reducing severe bleeding in comparison with standard APC treatment.

An APC variant with reduced anticoagulant activity may thus provide a safer alternative to standard APC therapy. Clinicians may also be able to give increased doses of APC variants to achieve the desired therapeutic effect against sepsis without risking severe bleeding.

Modified 5/30/08
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