A molecule called methylthioadenosine or MTA can predict which patients are most likely to die from sepsis, according to research published in the journal Science Advances.

The new biomarker … could also help determine whether patients could benefit from therapies that either enhance or suppress the immune system, paving the way for new treatments.

Researchers focused their search on a molecule called methylthioadenosine or MTA, which feeds into the methionine salvage pathway. They measured levels of MTA in sepsis survivors and sepsis non-survivors from two independent groups of patients, and found that those who died from the disease had elevated levels of the molecule.

They found that measurement of this single molecule was approximately 80% accurate in predicting death, which is comparable to the APACHE II (Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II) score, a measurement that is now used in hospitals.

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