Ottawa [Canada], Oct. 10 (ANI): A new understanding of cell defects linked to cystic fibrosis (CF) could help pave the way for treatment of the disease, according to researchers at the University of Saskatchewan (USask).
The results of the study were published in the journal “Cell Reports”.
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A team from the College of Medicine led by Drs Juan Ianowski (PhD) and Julian Tam (MD) discovered that sodium transport is abnormal in lungs with cystic fibrosis. The researchers, affiliated with the Respiratory Research Center, studied the porcine model of cystic fibrosis and used a specialized microelectrode technique that allowed them to perform very high-resolution experiments. They found that there is an excessive absorption of sodium in the small airways, a site in the body that had not been studied until now.
“A precise understanding of the cellular basis of CF lung disease is a prerequisite for the development of treatments such as gene therapy that have the potential to cure cystic fibrosis,” Tam said.
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“CFTR modulators, such as Trikafta, can improve the lives of approximately 90 percent of patients. Our work is particularly relevant to the 10 percent of people with cystic fibrosis who may not benefit from these drugs,” Tam added. .
According to Cystic Fibrosis Canada, cystic fibrosis is the most common fatal genetic disease in Canadian children and young adults. There is currently no cure for this disorder, the symptoms of which vary from patient to patient, but which mainly affects the lungs and digestive system. About one in 3,600 children born in Canada has cystic fibrosis, which occurs when a person receives two copies of a defective gene, one from each parent.
Ianowski has worked with Tam for about six years and has been able to meet people with cystic fibrosis in his clinic. He said it adds a sense of purpose and a desire to create workable results through the research he does in the lab.
“In this context, I get to know patients by name and see their difficulties. Working with Julian has created a meaningful partnership and we can educate ourselves and strengthen each other’s work,” Ianowski said.
Tam and Ianowski highlight the power of USask’s rich research environment, which has given them access to the expertise of the veterinarians who have supported their work. They are also grateful for the vital contributions of team members, such as postdoctoral fellow Dr Xianojie Luan (PhD), who played a crucial role in developing research protocols and collecting data.
The research was funded by the Canadian Institute for Health Research and Cystic Fibrosis Canada. (ANI)
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