Combination Treatment For Cystic Fibrosis Shows Great Improvement In Lung Function

By @hyaluronidase on
Respiratory problem
IN PHOTO: A girl suffering from pneumonia is given oxygen treatment at the Catarino Rivas Hospital in San Pedro Sula, March 5, 2008. Honduras has so far registered some 9,000 cases of different types of pneumonia just this year, which after the 31,000 cases confirmed in 2007 gives it the highest rate of respiratory disease in Latin America, according to the Public Health Ministry. Reuters/Edgard Garrido

A new combination treatment for cystic fibrosis has shown to greatly improve the quality of life for patients. Doctors said that the combination of lumacaftor and ivacaftor could improve lung function and increase life expectancy in cystic fibrosis patients.

The Daily Telegraph reports that a team of researchers from University of Queensland School of Medicine in Australia and the Queens University in Belfast headed the study. The study, published on May 17, could be found in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The study finds that the combination treatment can improve health among patients with cystic fibrosis, or CF, who are 12 years old and older and carry two copies of the F508del gene mutation, which is considered the most common type of the genetic disease afflicting half of the CF population, according to Nature World News.

"This is very exciting and it really demonstrates that we can correct the basic defects in cystic fibrosis,” Stuart Elborn of Queen’s University Belfast and lead researcher of the European part of the trial, told BBC News.

The medical trial was conducted on more than 1,000 CF patients who took the new treatment or placebos for 24 weeks. The new combination treatment of ivacaftor and lumacaftor — a drug yet to be licenced by the Food and Drug Administration -- showed improvements in lung function compared to placebo.

There was also a 40-percent decrease in “pulmonary exacerbations,” which leads to inflammation and infections, causing death among the patients, the Daily Telegraph reported. However, study notes that this cystic fibrosis treatment will not work for all CF patients because this new treatment only targets a specific gene mutation.

The results of the study should pave the way to perspective in fighting CF, according to the director of research of Cystic Fibrosis Trust charity, Janet Allen. She said that the new combination treatment should become an additional treatment option that could help improve the condition of patients.

CF is a life-threatening genetic condition that primarily attacks the lungs and other parts of the digestive system. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation states that an estimated 300,000 adults and children in the U.S. alone and 70,000 worldwide suffer from this condition.

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