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4 projects target cystic fibrosis with Hunt for a Cure funds
Date:11/1/2011

nocepacia. Mulks' research group is working to identify genes of the pathogen contributing to its ability to cause infection; previous work has identified several "mutant" genes showing a reduced ability to cause disease in models. The goal is to test whether the mutants also show reduced ability to cause disease in the cystic fibrosis mouse model established at MSU, hopefully leading to new therapeutic options to prevent and treat infection.

  • Dana Spence, Department of Chemistry: Increased infection due to bacterial growth is one of the main complications associated with cystic fibrosis. While bacterial growth is often thought to be a result of the mucous build-up in the airways of patients, this project will examine another possible contributing factor. Specifically, the cells in our body responsible for clearance of bacteria (the macrophages) need glucose as an energy source to perform this important task. However, some cells in the bodies of people with cystic fibrosis do not take in glucose as readily as most people. Spence's group hopes to provide evidence that therapies geared towards improving glucose uptake into the cells of people with the disease will help reduce bacterial infections.

  • Chris Waters, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics: The bacteria infecting the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients predominantly exist encased in a protective layer of sugar, DNA and proteins known as biofilms. The biofilms help bacteria resist the body's immune system and enable them to survive antibiotics. Waters' laboratory will examine the potential of new anti-biofilm molecules to treat the bacterial infections.

    Since 2008, the Grand Rapids-based Hunt for a Cure has donated more than $215,000 to MSU.

    "The funding has allowed us to expand our research capabilities in this field and allows possible new therapies to be tested much more rapidly and safely than before," Fink said.


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  • Contact: Jason Cody
    codyja@msu.edu
    517-432-0924
    Michigan State University
    Source:Eurekalert

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