UW News

September 16, 1999

New study for ARDS treatment begins at Harborview

A multi-center study to help prevent acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and pneumonia among trauma patients began Sept. 1 to test the efficacy of a naturally occurring protein.

Bacteriacidal permeability increasing protein (BPI) is found naturally in white blood cells and acts to kill bacteria. It also binds endotoxin, a poison formed on the surfaces of bacteria that is thought to play a role in developing ARDS. ARDS is an uncontrolled inflammatory response in the lung leading to prolonged ventilatory dependency, a longer ICU stay and a high mortality.

The randomized control study involves approximately 30 medical centers and is expected to enroll 1,600 patients. Harborview Medical Center expects to enroll 25 patients in the Seattle area over the next four months, says Dr. Avery B. Nathens, University of Washington fellow in trauma and critical care based at Harborview and sub-investigator of the study. Those studied will be trauma patients (excluding head injury), aged between 16 and 75, and require two or more units of blood.

A preliminary study on BPI two years ago showed a reduced incidence of severe complications among those who took the drug intravenously over 48 hours, with no significant adverse effects.

The principal investigator of the study is Dr. Ron Maier, surgeon-in-chief at Harborview. It is sponsored by drug manufacturer Xoma.