Earlier this month, researchers at the University of Montreal found an encouraging way to improve treatments to cystic fibrosis patients.
They discovered key molecules, known as quorum-sensing inhibitors, could be added to current treatments to develop personalized therapies for CF patients.
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a rare genetic condition that causes excessive mucus in the patient’s organs. This leads to constant bacterial infections and progressively, lung damage. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for CF, but quorum-sensing inhibitors are a step closer to one.
Quorum-sensing inhibitors benefit current treatment in two ways: (1) by reducing bacterial production of harmful residues and (2) by restoring the efficacy of existing treatments. Since cystic fibrosis is so variable from patient to patient, the two main prescriptions in current use (Kalydeco and Orkambi) only have limited efficacy.
The Montreal research team wanted to dive deeper into this dilemma. They realized that in a sterile laboratory environment, Orkambi and Kalydeco work well, but in practice, sick patients actually have colonized bacteria in their lungs. These bacteria greatly interfere with treatment, and the team could determine which specific substances do this.