Better Ways To Treat Sufferers Of Cystic Fibrosis
Cystic Fibrosis is a deadly genetic disease affecting over 10,000 children across the country. The disease results in a declining lung function which increases the chances of developing lung infections.
A new study sheds light on the way in which lung-damaging bacteria use the body's own immune response to worsen the effect.
According to researchers, the findings could alter the way in which new vaccines and treatments are developed for Cystic Fibrosis and other variations of bronchiectasis.
"The impact of bronchiectasis is absolutely massive. In more severe cases patients can be bed-ridden for months and are constantly suffering from breathlessness, coughing and chest pain. The simplest everyday tasks that we take for granted can prove to be exhausting to the point of becoming impossible," said Dr Ian Henderson, of the University of Birmingham in the press release.
Normally, the pathogenic bacteria causing such infections are usually destroyed by antibodies. These antibodies are the immune proteins that coat the outer surface of the intrusive bug and instigate the process by which other proteins can tackle and destroy the bacteria.
"What this means, fundamentally, is that we have to proceed with real caution in developing treatments. Three attempts have been made to develop vaccines targeting the LPS molecule - this extra-long sugar - and each time it has failed. The children receiving the vaccine actually developed a more severe disease than those who didn't," Dr Henderson added.
"Our results reveal why this would be the case. These vaccines would cause the immune system to provide so many antibodies that end up working alongside the LPS and prevent the bacteria from being killed."
Researchers hope to use their findings in informing a new line of research for treatment of patients and the development of vaccines to protect against infections which afflict bronchiectasis patients.
The study is published in The Journal of Experimental Medicine.