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University of Arizona researchers seek safer cystic fibrosis test
Date:9/10/2009

TUCSON, Ariz. Researchers from The University of Arizona Colleges of Pharmacy and Medicine are teaming up to try to invent a novel non-invasive lung test for cystic fibrosis sufferers.

Eric Snyder, PhD, assistant professor at the UA College of Pharmacy, is the principal investigator on the study, "Quantification of Exhaled Condensate Using Bronchoalveolar Lavage in Cystic Fibrosis." Dr. Snyder will work with UA College of Medicine faculty members Cori Daines, MD, and Wayne Morgan, MD, on the project.

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a disease that affects the lung. According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, about 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide) suffer from CF. The disease results from a genetic alteration that lowers the function of chloride channels in the lung, which leads to a dry lung. The drier a CF patient's lungs, the more dangerous his or her disease.

The fluctuations of sodium, potassium and chloride in the lung all are important in keeping the lung wet and are of particular importance in cystic fibrosis. Studies in the past using cell lines or animal tissues have shown that the administration of a common drug used in cystic fibrosis, a beta-agonist, increases the amount of chloride on cells and this should help keep the lungs wet. The problem is that currently no easy way exists to measure the amount of chloride on a person's lung cells to optimize his or her therapy.

Today, measuring what is on lung cells requires an invasive test called bronchoalveolar lavage. Although bronchoalveolar lavage typically is used to determine the level of disease severity by exploring inflammatory markers, Dr. Snyder notes that it also could be used to collect signs of chloride, and possibly lung dryness.

During bronchoalveolar lavage, the patient is anesthetized and a tube is inserted into the lung. Next, a small amount of water is sprayed into the lung's airway and then sucked out through t
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Contact: Karin Lorentzen
lorentzen@pharmacy.arizona.edu
520-626-3725
University of Arizona, College of Pharmacy
Source:Eurekalert  

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