Sepsis Research FEAT announces additional £90K funding for vital genetic research at the University of Edinburgh

Dr Kenneth Baillie at Roslin Institute (centre) with Sepsis Research FEAT Founder & Chairperson Craig Stobo (left) and Chief Operating Officer Colin Graham

Sepsis Research FEAT, the only charity in the UK dedicated to raising money for research into sepsis, has announced funding for a ground-breaking genetic research study.

The charity has supported the GenOMICC study at the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute since 2018 and has now pledged a further £90,000 funding for the next two years, taking the charity’s investment to £210,000. Led by Dr Kenneth Baillie, the GenOMICC study researches how genes can influence the body’s response to conditions such as sepsis and has also offered crucial data to scientists searching for treatments for COVID.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the GenOMICC study had been gathering DNA samples from sepsis patients in intensive care units throughout the UK. Because there are similarities between sepsis and COVID, the work being carried out at the Roslin Institute was pivoted to help in the fight against the pandemic knowing the learning from this research could help the understanding of sepsis too. Data from the GenOMICC team helped in the recent discovery of 13 DNA sequences that are associated with people developing the most severe form of Covid-19.

Sepsis Research FEAT exists to fund research to help improve treatments for sepsis, a life-threatening condition which kills around 5 people every hour in the UK. It also works to raise awareness of sepsis so that people learn how to spot the key symptoms and know when to seek urgent medical attention. The charity believes that research carried out by the GenOMICC study team will continue to play a vital part in the fight against sepsis.

Dr Kenneth Baillie at the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute said:

“Three years ago Sepsis Research FEAT began supporting the GenOMICC study in order to help us understand why some people die of infection, while others don’t even get sick. The aim of this work from the start has been to find new treatments and prevent future deaths from serious conditions like sepsis. Our ability to deliver world-leading research during the pandemic and extend our work to help in the fight against COVID was a direct consequence of Sepsis Research FEAT’s support. GenOMICC is now the single best-recruiting consented research study in the history of UK critical care medicine.

“This £90,000 funding from Sepsis Research FEAT over two years plays a vital part in enabling us to continue our work. Because their support is more flexible than standard research grants, we can direct the funds as needed to where they will have the greatest impact. We’ll use this support to maintain our outstanding and dedicated research team. The support of Sepsis Research FEAT is important to the whole team because the personal connection with relatives of patients lost to sepsis keeps us focussed on delivering high-impact research with real consequences for patients.”

Colin Graham, Chief Operating Officer at Sepsis Research FEAT, said:

“All of us at Sepsis Research FEAT are delighted to continue to support the GenOMICC study at the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute. This ground-breaking study has proven that research into Genes has made a significant difference in understanding why some people get so sick with COVID and others just get a mild infection. Although Sepsis is a much more complex condition, GenOMICC’s research can be replicated for sepsis and we are excited to see the results in the coming years.”

“Sepsis Research FEAT’s aim always has been and always will be to invest in research into sepsis and critical illness to help improve the lives of people affected by this condition. Research is very expensive and our charity doesn’t receive any NHS or government funding so every pound we receive as donations really does make a difference. Sepsis Awareness Month is coming up in September and we’re asking everyone to get involved by holding an event or taking part in an activity to fundraise for sepsis research that will help save lives.”

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