Scientists from the University of North Carolina in the US believe they have uncovered a new protein strategy that may one day help people with cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) better clear mucus from their lungs. The scientists’ research findings have just been published in the experimental biology journal FASEB.
According to the researchers, from the Cystic Fibrosis/Pulmonary Research and Treatment Center at the University of North Carolina, the SPLUNC1 protein and its synthetic derivatives may increase fluid levels and mucus clearance rates in the lungs. They said this would allow for the better clearance of pathogens.
"We hope that this study will pave the way for a new class of peptide-based channel inhibitors that can help reverse the mucus dehydration seen in cystic fibrosis and COPD," said Robert Tarran, a researcher involved in the work from the University of North Carolina. "This would help restore mucus clearance and kick-start the lung’s ability to clear unwanted pathogens."
Lab work image via Shutterstock