26 Mar 2015

Follistatin promising for cystic fibrosis treatment

Lung scan showing airways obstructed with mucus
Image: Guy Viner
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is the most common life-limiting genetically acquired respiratory disorder. Patients with CF have thick mucus obstructing the airways leading to recurrent infections, bronchiectasis and neutrophilic airway inflammation culminating in deteriorating lung function. Current management targets airway infection and mucus clearance, but despite recent advances in care, life expectancy is still only 40 years.

Researchers from the Monash Department of Allergy, Immunology and Respiratory medicine investigated whether activin A (a proinflammatory protein associated with excessive mucus secretion) is elevated in CF lung disease and whether inhibiting activin A with its natural antagonist follistatin retards lung disease progression. They found that activin A levels are elevated in CF and provide proof-of-concept from an experimental model for the use of the activin A antagonist, follistatin, as a therapeutic in the long-term management of lung disease in CF patients.

Reference: http://www.nature.com/icb/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/icb20157a.html
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