CF and inflammation

Reducing inflammation in cystic fibrosis patients

  • Research

While recent years have seen the emergence of several new therapies aimed at improving lung function and survival in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients, the lack of effective anti-inflammatory and anti-infective treatments for these individuals continues to represent a significant challenge.

A recent study from RCSI identifies a new approach to treating people with CF which reduces inflammation, marking an important first step to significantly improving patient outcomes for people with CF. The study, led by Professor Gerry McElvaney, Professor of Medicine at RCSI and Dr Emer Reeves, is published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

The researchers found that one of the most aggressive bacteria found in the lungs of those with CF caused certain immune cells to change their metabolism. This change caused the immune cells to produce a protein that causes more inflammation. They identified that high levels of the protein were associated with impaired lung function and a higher risk of death or the need for a lung transplant.

The team then used MCC950 to reduce levels of the protein in a laboratory model of CF. In addition to reducing inflammation, this also helped clear the lungs of bacteria. This marks the first time that researchers were able to stop this protein in CF in vivo by targeting cell metabolism, which could potentially lead to a new approach to treating inflammatory diseases like CF.

RCSI researchers carried out the study in collaboration with the University of Duisburg-Essen and the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute. The research was funded by RCSI’s StAR (Strategic Academic Recruitment) MD Programme, which aims to transfer impactful research discoveries to clinical practice more quickly for the benefit of patients.

RCSI is committed to achieving a better and more sustainable future through the UN Sustainable Development Goals.