UVM Professor Wins Invention Award

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(Host) A University of Vermont professor has won the 29th annual Inventor of the Year Award. George Long, a professor of biochemistry, has won the award for his role in the creation of the drug Xigris. Xigris inhibits the blood clotting process during the onset of sepsis, a medical disorder that usually occurs as a result of bacterial infections spread through the bloodstream. Sepsis affects about 750,000 Americans every year.

Long’s involvement with the creation of Xigris began in 1983, when he worked for the pharmaceutical company Eli-Lilly. His first success was to figure out the structure of protein C, which was known to have therapeutic potential for solving blood clot problems. His studies helped lead to the creation of Xigris, a protein C-based drug that was approved by the FDA last November.

(Long) “Well, what this drug does is to allow the body to survive through this period of time. As a result of having more of the activated C or this drug present, it tends to inhibit the blood clotting process, and that would be helpful in the sense of then allowing circulation to continue or to resume.”

(Host) Long continues to study protein C, and believes that Xigris could be helpful in combating other diseases.

(Long) “One of the things that I would like to see achieved is an improved form of activated protein C, or the drug that Lilly is marketing. I think there’s still a long ways to go and lots of room for improvement of the drug in the treatment of sepsis. I also believe that in some situations of thrombosis not related to sepsis that this drug would also be very useful.”

(Host) The Inventor of the Year Award was presented last month in Washington by the Intellectual Property Owners Association.

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