CTAHR NEWS

Stopping Sepsis

Stopping Sepsis
MBBE grad student Natalija Glibetic has won multiple awards on campus for sepsis research conducted at the UH Cancer Center in Michelle Matter’s Cancer Biology Program lab. Natalija won first place for best poster in the graduate division at the 2018 JABSOM Biomedical and Health Disparities Symposium, 30-year Anniversary Overall Best Master’s Poster at the 2018 CTAHR Student Research Symposium, first place for a Master’s student in CTAHR’s 2018 3-Minute Elevator Pitch Competition, and runner-up in the graduate division in the UH 2018 3-Minute Thesis Competition. Sepsis causes increased vascular leakage that can induce tissue swelling, multiple organ failure, and death. People with cancer are particularly susceptible to developing sepsis due to suppression of the immune system that can occur from the cancer itself or from surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy used to treat the disease. Sepsis is the leading cause of death in U.S. hospitals and accounts for 8.5 percent of cancer patient deaths each year, with Native Hawaiians being particularly susceptible, yet there are no treatments for sepsis, just supportive therapies. Natalija, whose research focuses on the regulation of vascular leakage in sepsis and cancer-associated sepsis, found a protein that is crucial in maintaining blood vessel integrity that blocks sepsis-induced vascular leakage. The protein acts as a key switch from an unhealthy leaky vessel to a healthy blood vessel.
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