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 'Exciting' discovery on path to develop new type of vaccine to treat global viruses
18.09.2017 | University of Southampton

nachricht A new approach to high insulin levels
18.09.2017 | Schweizerischer Nationalfonds SNF

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: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

Im Focus: Silencing bacteria

HZI researchers pave the way for new agents that render hospital pathogens mute

Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...

Im Focus: Artificial Enzymes for Hydrogen Conversion

Scientists from the MPI for Chemical Energy Conversion report in the first issue of the new journal JOULE.

Cell Press has just released the first issue of Joule, a new journal dedicated to sustainable energy research. In this issue James Birrell, Olaf Rüdiger,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

New quantum phenomena in graphene superlattices

19.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A simple additive to improve film quality

19.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>