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.
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.
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