Is This a Cystic Fibrosis Breakthrough?

As a Registered Nurse, I think the main thing that I do is educate people. It can be the actual patient, the caregiver, and/or the family. Nurses spend most of our career interpreting what the doctor said to the patient. We do this to calm nerves, but mainly just to help everyone understand what needs to happen.

Nurses are also tasked with staying up to date via Continuing Medical Education (CME) courses. I recently read some fascinating new developments this one….

A new study has uncovered a new class of bacterial enzymes has been linked to the chronic lung inflammation of cystic fibrosis. This discovery can open doors to new treatments.

The main component, pseudomonas aeruginosa (there’s a $20 word for you today!), has been found to promote inflammation. This “bacterial jerk,” as I will call it, secretes an enzyme that does not allow the body to produce an anti-inflammatory response that the body needs in order to prevent infection. It keeps the body in a hyper-inflammatory response all the time.

seinfeld burn insult jerk george costanza CF
But now that we know about THIS jerk, we can show it who is boss! [Source: pixabay.com]
A healthy human body fights hard to rid the body of inflammation.  It does this by producing an intense level of white blood cells, AKA your prince in shining armor. This bacterial snake limits the white blood cell response of people with cystic fibrosis. This causes the body to remains in a high level of inflammation. Then a barrier is formed in the lungs, and makes it impossible for antibiotics to work. Early research has found this bacterial enzyme in the sputum of people with cystic fibrosis. The role it played, however, was unknown until now.

Now with knowing the effects of this bacterial monster we have a new goal. We want to increase the levels of the bodily enzyme that sends our white blood cells out to fight for us. Doing that will keep this monster at bay, and could potentially decrease inflammation in the lungs all together. Now the challenge is making it available and also getting to the correct place in the body. Cystic fibrosis causes the body to have lots of sticky mucous that inhibits medicines to get where needed. That will also be a challenge, but I do feel this finding is a medical break through!


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