Topoisomerase 1 Inhibitors Could Prevent Sepsis-related Death

Anti-top1 cancer drugs can potentially stop inflammatory responses that lead to sepsis.

A recent study found that small doses of cancer medication topoisomerase 1 (top1) inhibitors could protect against the immune response to infection that can lead to sepsis.

Patients with weaker immune systems, such as babies, young children, the elderly, individuals with chronic illnesses, and people with severe burns and wounds, have a larger risk of developing sepsis, according to a study published in Science.

The study showed that the enzyme top1 activates genes that produce an inflammatory response in mice with infections. These results suggest that inhibiting this enzyme could potentially suppress an inflammatory response, while allowing the normal immune response to occur.

Approximately 70 to 90% of mice treated with 1 to 3 doses of the top1 inhibitor camptothecin did not have a lethal inflammatory response from bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), coinfection with influenza and S. aureus, or even liver failure.

Researchers also found that inhibiting top1 in human cells suppressed inflammatory genes from the Ebola virus.

Anti-top1 cancer drugs could possibly control infections that induce dangerous inflammatory responses and more research is needed to explore this treatment option, the researchers concluded.