A Major Breakthrough
Over the past year, Professor Levin's research team has made a major breakthrough in identifying a substance present in the blood of critically ill children which impairs the function of the heart.
Research groups around the world have attempted to achieve this objective for more than seventy years. What made it possible for the team at St Mary's to identify this myocardial depressant factor was our ability to link patients with newly available genetic techniques.
In collaboration with world leaders at Stanford University in the United States, the St Mary's team was able to utilise the technique of gene expression profiling to identify all the genes switched on when the meningococcal germ enters the bloodstream. It led to them identifying the factor responsible for stopping the heart from working.
This exciting discovery has now been taken forward to find new ways of treatment.