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Penn study on lung-infecting bacterial enzyme suggests new approach to cystic fibrosis treatment

viable near-term approach to improving length and quality of life for many CF patients, before CF gene therapy becomes a reality.

The Penn research team demonstrated the disruptive action of SMase in frog oocytes (egg cells) engineered to place CFTR in their membrane. These oocytes are an experimental tool that allows the researchers to assess the flow of ions across the membrane by measuring electrical current. The researchers found that direct exposure of the CFTR-containing oocytes to SMase of Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus anthracis bacteria shuts off the electrical current passing through not only the normal, but also the CF-causing mutant CFTR.

The next step for the research team is to develop specific inhibitors against the bacterial SMase and test the idea in an animal model.


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Source:University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine


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