UMKC School of Medicine awarded $1.7 million Dept. of Defense contract to study shock/trauma treatment

UMKC Shock Trauma Research Center Director Charles Van Way will lead research team

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) School of Medicine has been awarded a $1.7 million contract from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to conduct a research program to develop a treatment strategy for hemorrhagic shock that can be administered in conjunction with initial resuscitation efforts by combat medics on the battlefield or in medical facilities.

In hemorrhagic shock, blood loss exceeds the body’s ability to compensate and provide adequate tissue perfusion (blood flow) and oxygenation. As medical treatment is delivered, and blood and oxygen flow are restored to damaged tissues, reperfusion injuries can occur, resulting in systemic inflammation.

“Shock is a leading cause of death among American soldiers wounded in battle,” said Charles Van Way, M.D., Sosland/Missouri Endowed Chair of Trauma Research and Director of the Shock Trauma Research Center at the UMKC School of Medicine. “Treatment of injured soldiers in shock has traditionally been directed to the two important goals of blood volume replacement and surgical control of bleeding. We have proposed that a third, equally important goal be added to that treatment — i.e. the use of specific agents that can modify or partially suppress the patient’s post-shock inflammatory reaction.”

Previous studies conducted by Van Way and his colleagues have provided strong evidence to support the conclusion that administration of specific key nutrients and/or pharmacologic agents, notably glutamine, arginine, and allopurinol, during the period of resuscitation can favorably influence the magnitude of the adverse effects caused by injury, shock and resuscitation.

“The ultimate goal of this research is to deliver a new treatment option in which administration of the appropriate therapeutic agents is combined with standard or low-volume resuscitation,” Van Way said. “This would provide combat medics with an initial therapeutic treatment strategy for combat casualties which could diminish the post-shock systemic inflammatory reaction, thus lowering the risk of organ failure and subsequent death.”

About the UMKC School of Medicine

The UMKC School of Medicine was founded in 1971 as an innovative combined degree program. From its baccalaureate/MD curriculum to a docent system that emphasizes small group learning, the school has remained a trendsetter in medical education and research. For more information about the UMKC School of Medicine, visit You can also find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

About the University of Missouri-Kansas City

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 15,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience. For more information about UMKC, visit You can also find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YouTube.

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