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Doctors closer to using gene analysis to help trauma patients

A genetic tool with the potential to identify which trauma and burn patients are most likely to become seriously ill has worked consistently in a wide range of experimental clinical settings ?an important hurdle to overcome before the method is routinely used in emergency rooms and intensive care units.

In a report published today (March 7) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from eight institutions, including the University of Florida, describe how they were able to consistently analyze which genes are active in patients with serious infections or traumatic injuries.

Researchers want to understand the genetic features that enhance a patient’s recovery as well as the elements that cause people to die sometimes weeks after an injury occurs. Identifying those factors could help physicians choose the best treatment, a decision that could mean the difference between life and death, according to UF Genetics Institute scientists.

“The vast majority of patients who experience severe trauma or burn injuries actually do well,?said Lyle Moldawer, a surgery professor in UF’s College of Medicine. “They’re resuscitated at the scene, taken to the hospital, have an uneventful recovery and they’re discharged. But there’s a certain fraction who go on to develop complications that lead to organ failure and death, which is the most common cause of death after traumatic injury ?sepsis and multisystem organ failure. So the goal is to use functional genomics as a tool to identify those patients who, after severe trauma and burn injury, will go on to manifest this multisystem organ failure. It’s a way to better characterize the nature of the immuno-inflammatory response to trauma.?/p>

Dr. Ronald G. Tompkins, a surgeon and biomedical engineer at Massachusetts General Hospital, is leading the effort to develop standard operating procedures for the care of burn and trauma patients and increase understanding of the body’s molecular re
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Source:University of Florida


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