Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Surprising finding could lead to new treatment for cystic fibrosis

01.07.2004


The surprising finding that people with cystic fibrosis (CF) produce too little airway mucus – rather than too much, as it commonly believed – could lead to more effective treatments for the genetic disorder, say researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. "It has always been thought, but never proven, that CF causes the body to produce too much abnormally thick mucus that accumulates in the lungs and intestines," said Bruce Rubin, M.D., professor of pediatrics. "However, we have now shown that these patients actually have very little mucus in their airways. This finding could change the way we think about CF treatment." The research is reported online today in the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology.

CF is a genetic disease that affects about 40,000 children and adults in the United States. The disease is characterized by frequent respiratory infections, breathing difficulties, and eventually, permanent lung damage. Physicians have always believed that the airways fill with mucus, which normally lubricates and protects the respiratory system. Because people with CF have chronic cough and infection it has long been assumed that the airways were full of mucus.

Rubin and colleagues, however, have shown otherwise. They collected sputum from 12 patients with CF and 11 participants without lung disease and analyzed the contents. Participants with CF had significantly less (70 percent and 93 percent) of two proteins that form mucus than participants with healthy lungs. "This showed unequivocally there is much less mucus in the CF airway," said Rubin, a pediatric pulmonologist at Wake Forest Baptist’s Brenner Children’s Hospital.



The research was conducted by Markus Henke, M.D., while he was completing a fellowship at Wake Forest Baptist in Rubin’s laboratory. He is now at Philipps-University in Marburg, Germany. Henke has since analyzed the sputum from 35 CF patients and said the results are consistent with the earlier findings.

The researchers have shown that the substance clogging the lungs of CF patients is actually pus. They suspect that the airway in CF patients is chronically infected and that it fills with pus. They also suspect that mucus may actually protect the airway from infection. To test their theory, they will conduct a study in animals to determine if mucus can effectively "soak up" the bacteria that they believe is reproducing in the airway of CF patients.

"If it turns out that mucus is protective against the bacteria, we may have a treatment for CF," said Rubin. "We believe that by increasing the mucus in the airway early on, it may help prevent the infection. This certainly wouldn’t be a cure for CF, but it would make a wonderful difference in quality of life while a cure is being sought." Henke stressed that the finding applies to patients who are stable, and not having a flare-up of their disease that requires hospitalization.

Rubin said that if the animal research proves effective, treatment in humans might be available in the next five years. "There are ways to increase mucus production in normal airways, we just need to show that they are also effective in CF airways," he said.

The research was funded by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Rubin is the author of "Therapy for Mucus Clearance Disorders," published by Dekker/NIH as part of a series on the biology of the lungs.

Shannon Koontz | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wfubmc.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht GLUT5 fluorescent probe fingerprints cancer cells
20.04.2018 | Michigan Technological University

nachricht Scientists re-create brain neurons to study obesity and personalize treatment
20.04.2018 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Magnetic nano-imaging on a table top

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Start of work for the world's largest electric truck

20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research

Atoms may hum a tune from grand cosmic symphony

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>