PROVIDENCE, R.I. (September 29, 2021) — Brown Surgical Associates’ trauma and critical care surgeon Sean Monaghan, MD will serve as principal investigator in a 5-year research grant looking into potential new treatments for sepsis – the body’s extreme and potentially deadly response to an infection.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, sepsis accounted for 270,000 deaths and $62 billion in medical expenses in the United States alone. Those numbers have only increased in the last 18 months, as many people with severe COVID also end up with sepsis. According to the Global Sepsis Alliance, sepsis is the most frequent complication in COVID-19 treatment and is associated with high mortality of patients with severe SARS-CoV-2.
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With nearly $2 million in grant money procured by Rhode Island Hospital, Dr. Monaghan and Lifespan’s Director of Critical Care Medicine Dr. Mitchell Levy – two of the foremost experts in sepsis research – will perform RNA sequencing on 75 patients with sepsis and 75 control patients. Researchers will then use computational methods to better diagnose patients with sepsis and hopefully find new treatments.
“When it comes to sepsis treatment, time is vital. The sooner we can diagnose sepsis, the sooner we can get the infection under control, either with antibiotics or surgery,” Dr. Monaghan said. “We have previously obtained RNA sequencing from 15 patients with COVID-19. This grant will allow us to study a larger group and hopefully make a bigger impact by improving diagnostic capabilities which will, in turn, save lives.”
Through previous grants from Brown University, The American College of Surgeons, the National Institutes of Health through the CardioPulmonary Vascular Biology Center of Biomedical Research Excellence, and Brown Physicians, Inc, and the support of Brown Surgical Associates and Rhode Island Hospital, Dr. Monaghan was able to build computational infrastructure to perform this research while keeping patient data secure.