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Health Spotlight: Unraveling the mysteries of A.R.D.S.

Health Spotlight: Unraveling the mysteries of A.R.D.S.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A groundbreaking study will soon be underway that researchers say will transform the way doctors treat patients battling life-threatening conditions.

It could save hundreds of thousands of lives every year.

Despite decades of research and clinical trials, there hasn’t been much progress in finding effective treatments for pneumonia, sepsis, and acute respiratory distress syndrome – or A.R.D.S.

“A.R.D.S. kills as many as 30 or 40% of the people it strikes. Yeah, it’s really serious,” said Dr. Samuel Brown, vice president for Research Intermountain Health.

The go-to treatment is antibiotics, but even then, only 50% of patients recover – researchers say that’s because these kinds of illnesses affect each patient differently.

Dr. Samuel Brown compares the current treatment for A.R.D.S. to a fruit basket.

“You’ve got apples and oranges, bananas, papayas, guavas, mangos in the fruit basket, and you say, ‘Well, this thing, I think this will work for apples, so let’s do it for the whole basket.’ but phenotyping is saying, ‘oh no, let’s identify the individual fruits,’” Brown said.

That’s why researchers are spending the next few years collecting extensive data on thousands of patients with the goal of uncovering all the different forms of A.R.D.S. Studying patients’ genetics, and biological traits will give researchers a blueprint for these life-threatening conditions, allowing them to tailor treatments to each patient and giving them a better shot at recovery.

Researchers from 22 different hospitals across the country will start enrolling patients next year.

This story was created from a script aired on WISH-TV. Health Spotlight is presented by Community Health Network.