Neonatal sepsis is a common cause of mortality in newborns. Often, it is the inflammation in response to the pathogen, rather than the pathogen itself, that causes the most harm to the sick patient. Neonatal sepsis is currently treated with corticosteroids but they come with a significant number of adverse effects. One promising new anti-inflammatory drug is a phosphodiesterase inhibitor called pentoxyfylline. Esther Speer, a pediatrician specialized in neonatology at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, carried out an in vitro study using cord blood from healthy-term neonates, providing further evidence that pentoxyfylline represents a promising alternative to corticosteroids.