Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Research with red tide toxin yields potential therapies for cystic fibrosis

15.11.2004


Researchers working with Florida red tide discovered two new compounds that may treat mucus build-up associated with cystic fibrosis and similar lung diseases. Preliminary studies show these compounds improve the flow of mucus through the respiratory tract, allowing airways to clear more quickly and efficiently.



"These compounds are excellent candidates for the development of an entirely new class of drugs targeted for the treatment of mucociliary disease," said Kenneth Olden, Ph.D., director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

The NIEHS, one of the National Institutes of Health, provided $6.6 million to scientists at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach for the study. The findings are published in the January issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Florida red tide consists of microscopic plant-like cells that produce a potent chemical toxin that causes fish kills, contaminates shellfish, and creates severe respiratory irritation in people. As the concentration of red tide increases, waves and wind disperse toxin particles into the air, causing irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, lips and tongue.


After identifying the most potent of the red tide toxins, researchers asked a second question: Can the respiratory problems caused by the toxin be prevented? Their research led to the discovery of two "anti-toxins" - a man-made compound known as ƒÒ-Naphthoyl-brevetoxin, and brevenal, a natural compound produced by the organism itself. Experiments conducted in sheep revealed that both compounds were able to block the effects of the red tide toxin on the respiratory system.

While conducting experiments on the red tide anti-toxins, researchers made an even more important discovery - the anti-toxins behaved much like drugs used to treat cystic fibrosis. "We found these compounds are able to speed up the clearance of mucus from the lungs," said Daniel Baden, Ph.D., director of University of North Carolina at Wilmington¡¦s Center for Marine Science and director of the project.

According to Baden, mucociliary clearance is one of the most important defense systems in the lungs, protecting the airways from bacteria and pollutants. "We think the ability of these anti-toxins to improve the clearance of mucus may be due to a combination of increased movement of the cilia, the tiny hair-like structures that line the airways, and a thinning of mucus," he said.

Tests conducted in experimental animals showed these compounds to be effective at doses 1 million times lower than the current medications used in the treatment of cystic fibrosis. "These agents can improve the clearance of mucus, and they may also work at concentrations that have no side effects," said William Abraham, Ph.D., a pulmonary pharmacologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center and author of the study. "These compounds will serve as experimental models in the development of drug therapies for those who suffer from cystic fibrosis and other lung disorders characterized by excessive mucus secretion," said Baden.

Cystic fibrosis is the most common fatal genetic disease among Caucasians. Approximately 30,000 Americans have cystic fibrosis, and 12 million people carry the defective gene but are not affected by it. A person with cystic fibrosis produces thick, sticky mucus that provides a perfect breeding ground for bacterial growth. Cystic fibrosis patients are susceptible to more strains of bacteria than others, and have a much harder time fighting these infections. Symptoms of cystic fibrosis include frequent wheezing, chronic cough, and pneumonia. While chest thumping is used to clear thick mucus from the lungs, medications can be given to thin the mucous and help breathing.

John Peterson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.niehs.nih.gov

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Opioids: no effect without side effect
21.01.2019 | Universitätsklinikum Jena

nachricht The cytoskeleton of neurons has been found to be involved in Alzheimer's disease
18.01.2019 | University of the Basque Country

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: Ten-year anniversary of the Neumayer Station III

The scientific and political community alike stress the importance of German Antarctic research

Joint Press Release from the BMBF and AWI

The Antarctic is a frigid continent south of the Antarctic Circle, where researchers are the only inhabitants. Despite the hostile conditions, here the Alfred...

Im Focus: Ultra ultrasound to transform new tech

World first experiments on sensor that may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles

The new sensor - capable of detecting vibrations of living cells - may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles.

Im Focus: Flying Optical Cats for Quantum Communication

Dead and alive at the same time? Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have implemented Erwin Schrödinger’s paradoxical gedanken experiment employing an entangled atom-light state.

In 1935 Erwin Schrödinger formulated a thought experiment designed to capture the paradoxical nature of quantum physics. The crucial element of this gedanken...

Im Focus: Nanocellulose for novel implants: Ears from the 3D-printer

Cellulose obtained from wood has amazing material properties. Empa researchers are now equipping the biodegradable material with additional functionalities to produce implants for cartilage diseases using 3D printing.

It all starts with an ear. Empa researcher Michael Hausmann removes the object shaped like a human ear from the 3D printer and explains:

Im Focus: Elucidating the Atomic Mechanism of Superlubricity

The phenomenon of so-called superlubricity is known, but so far the explanation at the atomic level has been missing: for example, how does extremely low friction occur in bearings? Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institutes IWM and IWS jointly deciphered a universal mechanism of superlubricity for certain diamond-like carbon layers in combination with organic lubricants. Based on this knowledge, it is now possible to formulate design rules for supra lubricating layer-lubricant combinations. The results are presented in an article in Nature Communications, volume 10.

One of the most important prerequisites for sustainable and environmentally friendly mobility is minimizing friction. Research and industry have been dedicated...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

11th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Aachen, 3-4 April 2019

14.01.2019 | Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists discover new 'architecture' in corn

21.01.2019 | Life Sciences

Broadband achromatic metalens focuses light regardless of polarization

21.01.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Nuclear actin filaments determine T helper cell function

21.01.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>