New Molecule May Prevent Infection in Cystic Fibrosis Patients

Targeting ENaC could prevent damage from chronic infection and inflammation.

Researchers in a recent study discovered a new molecule that could potentially prolong the life of patients with cystic fibrosis (CF).

According to the study, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, the molecule has the ability to alter cellular ion channels, which results in improved airway hydration and mucous clearance.

The molecule is a protease inhibitor that stops the activation of the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC).

Researchers believe this molecule could stop the chronic infections faced by many CF patients. These chronic infections cause inflammation and destruction to the airways that can be fatal, according to the study.

"This is an important finding which could provide a novel therapeutic opportunity relevant to all individuals with CF, as the targeting of ENaC is independent of their underlying CF mutation. 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,” concluded researcher Lorraine Martin, BSc, PhD.