Personalized Medicine Discovery May Improve Hospitals’ Sepsis Outcomes

Newly discovered biomarkers may allow hospitals to use precision medicine to reduce sepsis costs

Sepsis is one of the largest cost drivers hospitals face, with the average full marginal loss for sepsis being as high as $34 million annually. As hospitals face the rising cost of sepsis, recent precision medicine breakthroughs may provide ways for hospitals to improve outcomes.

The German-based diagnostics company SphingoTec GmbH (SphingoTec) recently announced breakthroughs that experts there say will pave the way for the use of precision medicine in treating sepsis. SphingoTec has identified two different biological pathways that cause the potentially deadly symptoms of septic shock and developed biomarkers to help clinicians identify which pathway is causing a specific patient’s symptoms. 

In septic shock, fluid seeps out of the blood stream causing the blood pressure to drop and inhibiting the body’s ability to perfuse its vital organs. Having the ability to determine different patient-specific causes of septic shock could be an invaluable resource to the physicians treating these patients.

Testing for New Sepsis Biomarkers

One of the newly discovered biomarkers, called ADM, is thought to cause the veins to become “leaky,” triggering low blood pressure and leading to septic shock. The other process involves DPP3, an enzyme that affects the molecules that regulate the tone of the muscles in the veins. Dysfunction of this enzyme can cause the veins to lack the tone to keep a patient’s blood pressure within a preferable range.

SphingoTec is in the process of seeking approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for these two biomarkers and the analyzer needed to test for them. SphingoTec has announced this move as the first step to making their technology available to hospitals throughout the United States.

Approaching Precision Medicine Through the Hospital ICU

Researchers that worked on developing these two unique biomarkers noted that, while precision medicine has been widely applied in some fields of medicine, it is underutilized in the intensive care setting.

“Personalized medicine has shown significant progress in areas such as oncology or cardiology, but in intensive care units, it has remained challenging to identify biomarkers that facilitate personalized treatments,” SphingoTec said in a press release. “In the context of a life-threatening condition such as septic shock, taking therapeutic decisions is time-critical, aiming to respond in the best possible way and especially on a patient-specific basis.”


“Following a deep understanding of the disease biology, we have developed diagnostic solutions that can now unravel the etiology of the mortality drivers in sepsis,” stated SphingoTec founder and CEO, Dr. Andreas Bergmann in a press release. “The evidence confirms the utility of our biomarkers in supporting clinicians to make more informed decisions and ultimately improve patient management.”

This new breakthrough in treating a deadly and expensive condition could enable hospitals to avoid the potential costs of sepsis. As the technology continues to develop and starts to be used in the clinical setting, new treatments will follow, making better treatment of sepsis a reality in the near future.

SphingoTec’s research not only provides hospitals with a way to improve sepsis outcomes, but also highlights the benefits that precision medicine brings to hospitals. While a newer concept, precision medicine offers hospitals the opportunity to provide care that is individualized to specific patient’s needs, resulting in improved outcomes.

– Caleb Williams

Related Information:

Sepsis poses a cost-containment challenge in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic

Sphingotec positions biomarker assays as personalized medicine tools in sepsis

Two distinct pathways leading to the development of septic shock pave the way for personalized medicine in sepsis