The incidence of sepsis is on the rise worldwide. Despite continuous improvements of diagnosis and treatment, one out of four hospitalized septic patients dies of the condition. While patient management is organized by up-to-date guidelines, the translation of new research findings into the clinics is hampered by the lack of best practices and standardization in preclinical sepsis studies. With large quality gaps as well as conflicting data, scientists struggle to reconcile the pre-existing and emerging experimental findings into coherent blueprints of sepsis pathophysiology.
The Wiggers-Bernard initiative, gathering the leading international experts in sepsis research, has been addressing these deficits since its 2017 Viennese conference coordinated by LBI Trauma. The Wiggers-Bernard team identified the key limitations of pre-clinical sepsis modeling and formulated guidelines to enhance the quality as well as translational value of preclinical research. Those works culminated as “Minimum Quality Threshold in Pre-Clinical Sepsis Studies” (MQTiPSS) and were published as a series of papers in the journals Shock, Infection and Intensive Care Medicine Experimental in 2018/19.
The approach proposed by the Wiggers-Bernard initiative has been steadily gaining attention of peers and has been offered a supportive exposure platform by organization such as International Federation of Shock Societies (IFSS), Latin American Sepsis Institute (LASI), European Shock Society (ESS) and European Society of Intensive Care Medicine (ESICM).
In a recent icTV interview by ESICM, Marcin Osuchowski, the Wiggers-Bernard initiative coordinator and Head of Intensive Care at LBI Trauma, explains the impact of the MQTiPPS on preclinical sepsis studies. Beside the desire for an enhanced quality and comparability, Dr. Osuchowski also highlights the need for creating more individualized pre-clinical modeling guidelines in defined research domains (e.g. sepsis, trauma, cancer, arthritis) as many study design elements should not be reflexively inter-changed due to the inherent incompatibility of pre-clinical models representing those different fields. In a separate podcast interview, he additionally discusses the link between the MQTiPSS-encouraged standardization and the newest clinical sepsis guidelines and Sepsis-3 definition.
To facilitate an effective dissemination of the Wiggers-Bernard initiative message and the importance of the MQTiPSS guidelines, ESICM has created a short movie that describes those concepts in simple animation terms.
The potential utility and impact of the Wiggers-Bernard initiative remains to be verified by the sepsis scientists and investigators in the upcoming years. It is, however, to be expected that MQTiPSS guideline points will enhance the quality of pre-clinical sepsis models and their comparability, thereby accelerating the translation of pre-clinical findings for the benefit of patients.