Cells sent to fight infections in the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients actually enhance the development of permanent bacterial infections, according to researchers at National Jewish Medical and Research Center. Infections with the bacteria Pseudomonas are a major cause of sickness and death in cystic fibrosis patients. The findings, published in the June issue of Infection and Immunity, suggest new treatment strategies for patients with cystic fibrosis.
"Pseudomonas can use the remnants of dead white blood cells to develop a protective biofilm, which helps the bacteria establish a permanent infection," said National Jewish pulmonologist Jerry Nick, M.D., senior author on the paper. "So, ironically, the very cells sent to fight infection may contribute to our inability to eradicate the Pseudomonas infection in cystic fibrosis patients."
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disorder affecting about 30,000 people in the United States, and is the most common genetic disorder among Caucasian people. People with CF produce abnormal mucus that obstructs the airways and leads to chronic lung infections. The disease is fatal, but life expectancy for patients has increased dramatically in recent years, from 14 years in the mid-1980s to 35 years today. National Jewish has one of the largest adult cystic fibrosis clinics in the nation.
William Allstetter | EurekAlert!
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