New molecule may prolong patient survival for Cystic Fibrosis
Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a very aggressive genetic disease. People who suffer from CF often have salty-tasting skin, constant coughing, hacking up phlegm, shortness of breath and wheezing. There are at least 1,000 new cases each year just in the United States, and as many as 100,000 world wide. Seventy-five percent of children are diagnosed with this disease by the age of two.
However, this fatal disease is about to be changed. Scientists found a new molecule that prevents your body from activating your epithelial sodium channel, ENaC. Essentially, this protease inhibitor helps unblock airways by removing mucus and lowering the rate of infections while suffering from CF.
Dr. Lorraine Martin, from Queen’s University School of Pharmacy, who was in charge of this discovery says, “This strategy could prevent the significant lung damage that results from chronic cycles of infection and inflammation, with potential impact on quality of life as well as life expectancy.” The conclusion of her study was brief; the protease inhibitor can help delay or could prevent the development of the disease.
There is no cure for CF. You can use inhalers to help treat the disease. In order to improve absorption of nutrients, doctors often recommend a pancreatic enzyme supplement. The average life expectancy of people with CF was reaching adulthood, but now with these new improvements people can plan for a career, getting married, having children, and living into their 50’s and 60’s. Until we discover a cure, the next stage is to begin preclinical testing and see how the protease inhibitor affects other chronic airway diseases.
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