Healthy Living

Researchers Discover Key Molecule to Improve Cystic Fibrosis Treatment

Researchers Discover Key Molecule to Improve Cystic Fibrosis Treatment

Cystic fibrosis treatment can be very lengthy and complex, and to date there is no definitive cure for it. However, there have been significant leaps forward within the medical community, giving hope to many who are looking to improve their treatments and ideally see more significant results.

Background on the study

Researchers at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre, often referred to as CRCHUM), have recently been able to identify a way of treatment that they believe will show immense promise for those who suffer from cystic fibrosis. By adding molecules referred to as "quorum-sensing inhibitors" to drugs, the drugs can offer more protection and fewer side effects.

The quorum-sensing inhibitors offer reductions in bacterial production of harmful residues present for many with cystic fibrosis, and also is able to restore the efficacy of pre-existing treatments on cells. Two specific treatments whose efficacy are especially impacted are Orkambi and Kalydeco.

This research is causing massive buzz in the cystic fibrosis community, and many believe that it will be a huge step towards more modernized and personalized therapies. The study has been published in Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology.

The study’s impact on cystic fibrosis

Unfortunately, there is no cure for cystic fibrosis, which is part of why each and every accomplishment in the research community makes a significant impact, such as this one.

One of the largest struggles associated with cystic fibrosis research is how the disease is completely personal. One patient's experience is often entirely different from another's, despite both having cystic fibrosis. Because of this, even when there are certain progresses, unfortunately they will very rarely be able to assist everyone. Often, they will only impact a small portion of patients, as there are upwards of two thousand possible gene mutations.

Throughout the last ten years, there have been two prescription medications that those patients with cystic fibrosis who are eligible can take advantage of, and they are called Kalydeco and Orkambi.

Kalydeco is most commonly used by those who have rare mutations, which is estimated to be less than four percent of patients. On the other hand, Orkambi is used by those who have more frequent mutations, and is accessible to almost eighty per cent of patients. However, due to the variation in each patient's experiences, the drugs are not universally effective. In fact, there efficacy could even be considered limited by many.

Researchers at CRCHUM decided to take a further look into why these drugs are not experiencing more positive results among many who take them. Therefore, they decided to collect nasal cells, with the permission of patients, and reuse the lungs that had been removed from those with cystic fibrosis at the time of their transplantations. Then, they embarked on an effort to recreate airway epithelial tissue, via tissue engineering, in order to get a closer look at the disease, and analyze therapeutic approaches from a different direction. 

Read on to learn more about this discovery and what it means for the future of cystic fibrosis treatment.