Antifungal drug improves key cystic fibrosis biomarkers in clinical study

Illinois News Bureau

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — A drug widely used to treat fungal infections improved key biomarkers in lung tissue cultures as well as in the noses of patients with cystic fibrosis, a clinical study by researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the University of Iowa found.

Cystic fibrosis is caused by a missing or defective ion channel in the lining of the lungs, called CFTR. This leaves patients vulnerable to lung infections. Treatments called modulators can help some but not all patients, based on which type of genetic mutation causes the symptoms.

The patients who participated in the clinical study were among the 10% of patients who cannot respond to modulator treatments, suggesting the antifungal drug, amphotericin B, could benefit all patients regardless of their mutation, said study leader Dr. Martin D. Burke. Burke is a professor of chemistry at Illinois and the associate dean for research for the Carle Illinois College of Medicine, as well as a medical doctor. The study was published in the Journal of Cystic Fibrosis.   

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