Cystic fibrosis is one of the most common life-limiting inherited disorders. Its clinical impact manifests chiefly in the lung, pancreas, gastrointestinal tract and sweat glands, with lung disease typically being most detrimental to health. The median age for survival has increased dramatically over the past decades, largely thanks to advances in understanding of the mechanisms and consequences of disease, leading to the development of better therapies and treatment regimes. The discovery of dysregulated protein biomarkers linked to cystic fibrosis has contributed considerably to this end. This article outlines clinical trials targeting known protein biomarkers, and the current and future contributions of proteomic techniques to cystic fibrosis research. The treatments described range from those designed to provide functional copies of the mutant protein responsible for cystic fibrosis, to others addressing the associated symptoms of chronic inflammation. Preclinical research has employed proteomics to help elucidate pathways and processes implicated in disease that might present opportunities for therapy or prognosis. Global analyses of cystic fibrosis have detected the differential expression of proteins involved in inflammation, proteolytic activity and oxidative stress, which are recognized symptoms of the cystic fibrosis phenotype. The dysregulation of other processes, such as the complement and mitochondrial systems, has also been implicated. A number of studies have focused specifically on proteins that interact with the cystic fibrosis protein, with the goal of restoring its normal proteostasis. Consequently, proteins involved in synthesis, folding, degradation, translocation and localization of the protein have been identified as potential therapeutic targets. Cystic fibrosis patients are prone to lung infections that are thought to contribute to chronic inflammation, and thus proteomic studies have also searched for microbiological biomarkers to use in early infection diagnosis or as indicators of virulence. The review concludes by proposing a future role for proteomics in the high-throughput validation of protein biomarkers under consideration as outcome measures for use in clinical trials and routine disease monitoring.
Primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) is a rare genetic disease characterized by abnormal ciliary structure and function leading to impaired mucociliary clearance and chronic progressive sinopulmonary disease. Upper and lower respiratory tract manifestations are cardinal features of PCD. This review summarizes the current state of knowledge of respiratory tract disease in individuals with PCD and highlights the challenges in identifying and quantifying lung disease in very young children with PCD. No specific therapies are available to correct ciliary dysfunction in PCD. Treatment is not evidence based, and recommendations are largely extrapolated from cystic fibrosis and other conditions with impaired mucociliary clearance. There is a pressing need to develop and validate outcome measures, including patient-reported outcomes, that could be used to evaluate potential therapies in PCD. This review concludes with recommendations for clinical endpoints and outcome measures and a prioritized list of treatments to study in PCD clinical trials.
primary ciliary dyskinesia; lung disease; outcome measure; patient-reported outcome; clinical trial
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an autosomal recessive disorder which despite advances in medical care continues to be a life-limiting and often fatal disease. With increase in life expectancy of the CF population, bone disease has emerged as a common complication. Unlike the osteoporosis seen in postmenopausal population, bone disease in CF begins at a young age and is associated with significant morbidity due to fractures, kyphosis, increased pain, and decreased lung function. The maintenance of bone health is essential for the CF population during their lives to prevent pain and fractures but also as they approach lung transplantation since severe bone disease can lead to exclusion from lung transplantation. Early recognition, prevention, and treatment are key to maintaining optimal bone health in CF patients and often require a multidisciplinary approach. This article will review the pathophysiology, current clinical practice guidelines, and potential future therapies for treating CF-related bone disease.
There is a continuing need for development of new treatments
for lung disease. Basic scientific investigations are identifying novel
targets for the development of new approaches to therapy of a range of
respiratory conditions. Coupled with the advances in technology being
harnessed by the pharmaceutical and biotechnological industries, there
is now an impressive range of potential treatments including gene
therapy, not just for cystic fibrosis but also for a range of
inflammatory lung conditions, anti-cytokine and anti-adhesion molecule
approaches, and targeting of intracellular signal transduction pathways
including cyclic AMP metabolism, tyrosine kinases and MAP kinases.
"Old" molecules such as heparin and secretory leukoprotease
inhibitor (SLPI) are demonstrating new beneficial activities. Simple
molecules such as nitric oxide (NO) gas may be involved in the
pathophysiology of different airway conditions. It is an exciting time
for respiratory science and a time for optimism for those seeking new
approaches to the treatment of lung diseases.
Research into respiratory diseases has reached a critical stage and the introduction of novel therapies is essential in combating these debilitating conditions. With the discovery of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor and its involvement in inflammatory responses of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, attention has turned to lung diseases and whether knowledge of this receptor can be applied to therapy of the human airways. In this article, we explore the prospect of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ as a marker and treatment focal point of lung diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, lung cancer and cystic fibrosis. It is anticipated that peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ ligands will provide not only useful mechanistic pathway information but also a possible new wave of therapies for sufferers of chronic respiratory diseases.
Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma; respiratory diseases; asthma; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; lung cancer.
Lung disease is an increasing public health problem worldwide. According to the American Lung Association, more than 400,000 people die of lung diseases in the United States each year, which accounts for one in every six deaths overall. These staggering figures translate into a cost of more than $100 billion per year . Even more concerning is the fact that in many chronic lung diseases, we have no therapeutic interventions with which to arrest or reverse the pathobiology of these destructive processes, or to restore functional lung tissue. Thus, we treat patients’ symptoms, but the underlying diseases continue to progress. In these circumstances, our therapeutic options ultimately turn to lung transplantation once diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)/emphysema, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, and idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) become end-stage. Lung transplantation is a life-prolonging procedure for many patients; however, there is a shortage of available donor lungs, and, even when transplanted, the average survival for adult lung recipients is approximately 5–6 years . Recipients are vulnerable to transplant-related diseases, such as bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome, which limits long-term survival in many patients ,. Thus, there is a desperate need for new and innovative therapies for a number of chronic lung diseases, including diseases that develop after lung transplantation.
regenerative medicine; stem cell; lung injury; emphysema; pulmonary hypertension; mesenchymal stem cell
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation currently tracks about 20,000 Americans with cystic fibrosis, an autosomal recessive genetic disease that leads to multisystem complications. With the institution of better therapeutic regimens over the past 2 decades, more patients with this disease are surviving to adulthood. Within the past decade, both clinical and basic science research in the field of cystic fibrosis has progressed at a rapid rate. The intent of this review is to introduce readers to the molecular, cellular, and systemic disorders of this disease. We discuss treatment strategies involving antibiotics, nutrition, immune-response mediators, chest physiotherapy, and sputum-active agents with respect to the airway dysfunction of cystic fibrosis. Other common complications, recent developments, transplantation, and gene therapy are also reviewed.
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is the most common life-shortening genetic disorder in Caucasians. With improved diagnosis and treatment, survival has steadily increased. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of patients still die from respiratory failure caused by structural damage resulting from airway obstruction, recurrent infection, and inflammation. Here, we discuss the role of inflammation and the development of anti-inflammatory therapies to treat CF lung disease. The inflammatory host response is the least addressed component of CF airway disease at this time. Current challenges in both preclinical and clinical investigation make the identification of suitable anti-inflammatory drugs more difficult. Despite this, many researchers are making significant progress toward this goal and the CF research community has reason to believe that new therapies will emerge from these efforts.
therapy; cystic fibrosis; survival; inflammation
Inflammation plays a critical role in lung disease development and progression in cystic fibrosis. Azithromycin is used for the treatment of cystic fibrosis lung disease, although its mechanisms of action are poorly understood. We tested the hypothesis that azithromycin modulates lung inflammation in cystic fibrosis mice.
We monitored cellular and molecular inflammatory markers in lungs of cystic fibrosis mutant mice homozygous for the ΔF508 mutation and their littermate controls, either in baseline conditions or after induction of acute inflammation by intratracheal instillation of lipopolysaccharide from Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which would be independent of interactions of bacteria with epithelial cells. The effect of azithromycin pretreatment (10 mg/kg/day) given by oral administration for 4 weeks was evaluated.
In naive cystic fibrosis mice, a spontaneous lung inflammation was observed, characterized by macrophage and neutrophil infiltration, and increased intra-luminal content of the pro-inflammatory cytokine macrophage inflammatory protein-2. After induced inflammation, cystic fibrosis mice combined exaggerated cellular infiltration and lower anti-inflammatory interleukin-10 production. In cystic fibrosis mice, azithromycin attenuated cellular infiltration in both baseline and induced inflammatory condition, and inhibited cytokine (tumor necrosis factor-α and macrophage inflammatory protein-2) release in lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammation.
Our findings further support the concept that inflammatory responses are upregulated in cystic fibrosis. Azithromycin reduces some lung inflammation outcome measures in cystic fibrosis mice. We postulate that some of the benefits of azithromycin treatment in cystic fibrosis patients are due to modulation of lung inflammation.
Lung disease in patients with cystic fibrosis is thought to develop as a result of airway inflammation, infection, and obstruction. Pulmonary therapies for cystic fibrosis that reduce airway inflammation include corticosteroids, rhDNase, antibiotics, and high-dose ibuprofen. Despite evidence that high-dose ibuprofen slows the progression of lung disease in patients with cystic fibrosis, many clinicians have chosen not to use this therapy because of concerns regarding potential side effects, especially gastrointestinal bleeding. However, studies have shown a low incidence of gastrointestinal ulceration and bleeding in patients with cystic fibrosis who have been treated with high-dose ibuprofen.
The described case illustrates a life-threatening upper gastrointestinal bleed that may have resulted from high-dose ibuprofen therapy in a patient with CF who had undergone a pneumonectomy. Mediastinal shift post-pneumonectomy distorted the patient's esophageal anatomy and may have caused decreased esophageal motility, which led to prolonged contact of the ibuprofen with the esophagus. The concentrated effect of the ibuprofen, as well as its systemic effects, probably contributed to the occurrence of the bleed in this patient.
This report demonstrates that gastrointestinal tract anatomical abnormalities or dysmotility may be contraindications for therapy with high-dose ibuprofen in patients with cystic fibrosis.
cystic fibrosis; esophageal ulceration; gastrointestinal bleed; ibuprofen; pneumonectomy
Uncontrolled extracellular matrix production by fibroblasts in response to tissue injury contributes to fibrotic diseases, such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a progressive and ultimately fatal process that currently has no cure. Although dysregulation of miRNAs is known to be involved in a variety of pathophysiologic processes, the role of miRNAs in fibrotic lung diseases is unclear. In this study, we found up-regulation of miR-21 in the lungs of mice with bleomycin-induced fibrosis and also in the lungs of patients with IPF. Increased miR-21 expression was primarily localized to myofibroblasts. Administration of miR-21 antisense probes diminished the severity of experimental lung fibrosis in mice, even when treatment was started 5–7 d after initiation of pulmonary injury. TGF-β1, a central pathological mediator of fibrotic diseases, enhanced miR-21 expression in primary pulmonary fibroblasts. Increasing miR-21 levels promoted, whereas knocking down miR-21 attenuated, the pro-fibrogenic activity of TGF-β1 in fibroblasts. A potential mechanism for the role of miR-21 in fibrosis is through regulating the expression of an inhibitory Smad, Smad7. These experiments demonstrate an important role for miR-21 in fibrotic lung diseases and also suggest a novel approach using miRNA therapeutics in treating clinically refractory fibrotic diseases, such as IPF.
Gene therapy as a treatment modality for pulmonary disorders has attracted significant interest over the past decade. Since the initiation of the first clinical trials for cystic fibrosis lung disease using recombinant adenovirus in the early 1990s, the field has encountered numerous obstacles including vector inflammation, inefficient delivery, and vector production. Despite these obstacles, enthusiasm for lung gene therapy remains high. In part, this enthusiasm is fueled through the diligence of numerous researchers whose studies continue to reveal great potential of new gene transfer vectors that demonstrate increased tropism for airway epithelia. Several newly identified serotypes of adeno-associated virus have demonstrated substantial promise in animal models and will likely surface soon in clinical trials. Furthermore, an increased understanding of vector biology has also led to the development of new technologies to enhance the efficiency and selectivity of gene delivery to the lung. Although the promise of gene therapy to the lung has yet to be realized, the recent concentrated efforts in the field that focus on the basic virology of vector development will undoubtedly reap great rewards over the next decade in treating lung diseases.
cystic fibrosis; viral vectors; lung; airway epithelium; AAV; adenovirus; α-1-antitrypsin deficiency
Fibrosis is fundamental to the pathogenesis of many chronic lung diseases, including some lung infections, airway diseases such as bronchiectasis and asthma, and most of the diffuse parenchymal lung diseases. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, the prototypical fibrotic lung disease, is amongst the most common diffuse parenchymal lung diseases and is characterized by progressive decline in lung function and premature death from respiratory failure. The clinical management of patients with this illness is hampered by our current inability to predict clinical deterioration and lack of an effective therapy. Fibrocytes are a population of bone marrow-derived circulating progenitor cells that home to injured tissues and differentiate into fibroblasts and myofibroblasts, thus contributing to scar formation. We summarize the evidence supporting the role of these cells in the pathogenesis of fibrotic lung diseases.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive, chronic interstitial lung disease that is unresponsive to current therapy and often leads to death. However, the rate of disease progression differs among patients. We hypothesized that comparing the gene expression profiles between patients with stable disease and those in which the disease progressed rapidly will lead to biomarker discovery and contribute to the understanding of disease pathogenesis.
Methodology and Principal Findings
To begin to address this hypothesis, we applied Serial Analysis of Gene Expression (SAGE) to generate lung expression profiles from diagnostic surgical lung biopsies in 6 individuals with relatively stable (or slowly progressive) IPF and 6 individuals with progressive IPF (based on changes in DLCO and FVC over 12 months). Our results indicate that this comprehensive lung IPF SAGE transcriptome is distinct from normal lung tissue and other chronic lung diseases. To identify candidate markers of disease progression, we compared the IPF SAGE profiles in stable and progressive disease, and identified a set of 102 transcripts that were at least 5-fold up regulated and a set of 89 transcripts that were at least 5-fold down regulated in the progressive group (P-value≤0.05). The over expressed genes included surfactant protein A1, two members of the MAPK-EGR-1-HSP70 pathway that regulate cigarette-smoke induced inflammation, and Plunc (palate, lung and nasal epithelium associated), a gene not previously implicated in IPF. Interestingly, 26 of the up regulated genes are also increased in lung adenocarcinomas and have low or no expression in normal lung tissue. More importantly, we defined a SAGE molecular expression signature of 134 transcripts that sufficiently distinguished relatively stable from progressive IPF.
These findings indicate that molecular signatures from lung parenchyma at the time of diagnosis could prove helpful in predicting the likelihood of disease progression or possibly understanding the biological activity of IPF.
In the airways of those with cystic fibrosis (CF), the leading pathophysiological hypothesis is that an ion channel defect results in a relative decrease in airway surface liquid (ASL) volume, producing thick and sticky mucus that facilitates the establishment and progression of early fatal lung disease. This hypothesis predicts that any successful CF airway treatment for this fundamental channel defect should increase the ASL volume, but up until now there has been no method of measuring this volume that would be compatible with in vivo monitoring. In order to accurately monitor the volume of the ASL, we have developed a new x-ray phase contrast imaging method that utilizes a highly attenuating reference grid. In this study we used this imaging method to examine the effect of a current clinical CF treatment, aerosolized hypertonic saline, on ASL depth in ex vivo normal mouse tracheas, as the first step towards non-invasive in vivo ASL imaging. The ex vivo tracheas were treated with hypertonic saline, isotonic saline or no treatment using a nebuliser integrated within a small animal ventilator circuit. Those tracheas exposed to hypertonic saline showed a transient increase in the ASL depth, which continued for nine minutes post-treatment, before returning to baseline by twelve minutes. These findings are consistent with existing measurements on epithelial cell cultures, and therefore suggest promise for the future development of in vivo testing of treatments. Our grid-based imaging technique measures the ASL depth with micron resolution, and can directly observe the effect of treatments expected to increase ASL depth, prior to any changes in overall lung health. The ability to non-invasively observe micron changes in the airway surface, particularly if achieved in an in vivo setting, may have potential in pre-clinical research designed to bring new treatments for CF and other airway diseases to clinical trials.
Therapeutic intervention in cystic fibrosis (CF) remains a challenge, partly because of the number of organs and tissues affected by the lack of a functional cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) protein. CF was originally regarded primarily as a gastrointestinal (GI) disease because of the failure to thrive and early death from malnutrition in infants with CF. However, successful interventions for the GI manifestations of CF have left chronic lung infections as the primary cause of morbidity and mortality. Despite a complex microbiology within the CF lung, one pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, remains the critical determinant of pulmonary pathology. Treatment and management of this infection and its associated symptoms are the major targets of extant and developing CF therapies. Understanding the multitude of effects of CFTR on mucosal physiology and susceptibility and progression of chronic lung disease, and how host immune responses fail to adequately control lung infection, will be essential for the development of improved therapies for CF.
Pancreatic exocrine insufficiency (PEI) is often observed in patients with pancreatic diseases, including chronic pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis, and tumors, or after surgical resection. PEI often results in malnutrition, weight loss and steatorrhea, which together increase the risk of morbidity and mortality. Therefore, nutritional interventions, such as low-fat diets and pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy (PERT), are needed to improve the clinical symptoms, and to address the pathophysiology of pancreatic exocrine insufficiency. PERT with delayed-release pancrelipase is now becoming a standard therapy for pancreatic exocrine insufficiency because it significantly improves the coefficients of fat and nitrogen absorption as well as clinical symptoms, without serious treatment-emergent adverse events. The major adverse events were tolerable gastrointestinal tract symptoms, such as stomach pain, nausea, and bloating. Fibrosing colonopathy, a serious complication, is associated with high doses of enzymes. Several pancrelipase products have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in recent years. Although many double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of pancrelipase products have been conducted in recent years, these studies have enrolled relatively few patients and have often been less than a few weeks in duration. Moreover, few studies have addressed the issue of pancreatic diabetes, a type of diabetes that is characterized by frequent hypoglycemia, which is difficult to manage. In addition, it is unclear whether PERT improves morbidity and mortality in such settings. Therefore, large, long-term prospective studies are needed to identify the optimal treatment for pancreatic exocrine insufficiency. The studies should also examine the extent to which PERT using pancrelipase improves mortality and morbidity. The etiology and severity of pancreatic exocrine insufficiency often differ among patients with gastrointestinal diseases or diabetes (type 1 and type 2), and among elderly subjects. Finally, although there is currently limited clinical evidence, numerous extrapancreatic diseases and conditions that are highly prevalent in the general population may also be considered potential targets for PERT and related treatments.
pancreatic exocrine insufficiency; chronic pancreatitis; pancreatic diabetes; steatorrhea; pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy; extrapancreatic diseases
Purpose of review
Cystic fibrosis is the first human genetic disease to benefit from the directed engineering of three different species of animal models (mice, pigs, and ferrets). Recent studies on the cystic fibrosis pig and ferret models are providing new information about the pathophysiology of cystic fibrosis in various organ systems. Additionally, new conditional cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) knockout mice are teaching unexpected lessons about CFTR function in surprising cellular locations. Comparisons between these animal models and the human condition are key to dissecting the complexities of disease pathophysiology in cystic fibrosis.
Cystic fibrosis pigs and ferrets have provided new models to study the spontaneous development of disease in the lung and pancreas, two organs that are largely spared overt spontaneous disease in cystic fibrosis mice. New cystic fibrosis mouse models are now interrogating CFTR functions involved in growth and inflammation at an organ-based level using conditional knockout technology. Together, these models are providing new insights on the human condition.
Basic and clinical cystic fibrosis research will benefit greatly from the comparative pathophysiology of cystic fibrosis mice, pigs, and ferrets. Both similarities and differences between these three cystic fibrosis models will inform pathophysiologically important mechanisms of CFTR function in humans and aid in the development of both organ-specific and general therapies for cystic fibrosis.
cystic fibrosis; ferret; mouse; pathology; pathophysiology; pig
BACKGROUND: The role of non-bacterial infection in respiratory exacerbations of cystic fibrosis has been studied less than that of bacterial infection. Some non-bacterial infections, such as influenza A, may be associated with acute respiratory deterioration and may be preventable. METHODS AND RESULTS: Three patients with cystic fibrosis showed severe deterioration in lung function and general wellbeing during the influenza A virus epidemic in the winter of 1989-90. Serological confirmation of influenza A virus infection was obtained in each case. CONCLUSIONS: As immunisation against influenza A virus is safe and provokes an adequate antibody response in patients with cystic fibrosis, it is concluded that patients with cystic fibrosis should be offered immunisation at the beginning of each influenza season. Rapid diagnostic tests and the use of antiviral drugs may have a prophylactic role in minimising lung damage.
Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is one of the most common autosomal genetic disorders in humans. This disease is caused by mutations within a single gene, coding for the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) protein. The phenotypic hallmark of CF is chronic lung infection and associated inflammation from opportunistic microbes such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA), Haemophilus influenzae, and Staphylococcus aureus. This eventually leads to deterioration of lung function and death in most CF patients. Unfortunately, there is no approved therapy for correcting the genetic defect causal to the disease. Hence, controlling inflammation and infection in CF patients are critical to disease management. Accordingly, anti-inflammatory agents and antibiotics are used to manage chronic inflammation and infection in CF patients. However, most of the anti-inflammatory agents in CF have severe limitations due to adverse side effects, and resistance to antibiotics is becoming an even more prominent problem. Thus, new agents that can be used to control chronic inflammation in CF are needed in the absence of a cure for the disease. Activation of the transcription factor NFκB through Toll-like receptors (TLR) following bacterial infection is principally involved in regulating lung inflammation in CF. NFκB regulates the transcription of several genes that are involved in inflammation, anti-apoptosis and anti-microbial activity, and hyper-activation of this transcription factor leads to a potent inflammatory response. Thus, NFκB is a potential anti-inflammatory drug target in CF. Screening of several compounds from natural sources in an in vitro model of CF-related inflammation wherein NFκB is activated by filtrates of a clinically isolated strain of PA (PAF) led us to Withaferin A (WFA), a steroidal lactone from the plant Withania Somnifera L. Dunal. Our data demonstrate that WFA blocks PAF-induced activation of NFκB as determined using reporter assays, IL-8 measurements and high-content fluorescent imaging of NFκB subunit p65 translocation. Since the airways of CF patients can be specifically targeted for delivery of therapeutics, we propose that WFA should be further studied as an anti-inflammatory agent in models of CF related inflammation mediated by NFκB.
Animal models of human diseases are critical for dissecting mechanisms of pathophysiology and developing therapies. In the context of cystic fibrosis (CF), mouse models have been the dominant species by which to study CF disease processes in vivo for the past two decades. Although much has been learned through these CF mouse models, limitations in the ability of this species to recapitulate spontaneous lung disease and several other organ abnormalities seen in CF humans have created a need for additional species on which to study CF. To this end, pig and ferret CF models have been generated by somatic cell nuclear transfer and are currently being characterized. These new larger animal models have phenotypes that appear to closely resemble human CF disease seen in newborns, and efforts to characterize their adult phenotypes are ongoing. This chapter will review current knowledge about comparative lung cell biology and cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) biology among mice, pigs, and ferrets that has implications for CF disease modeling in these species. We will focus on methods used to compare the biology and function of CFTR between these species and their relevance to phenotypes seen in the animal models. These cross-species comparisons and the development of both the pig and the ferret CF models may help elucidate pathophysiologic mechanisms of CF lung disease and lead to new therapeutic approaches.
Lung biology; tracheal xenograft; CFTR processing; pig; ferret; mouse
Gene therapy is being developed as a novel treatment for cystic fibrosis (CF), a condition that has hitherto been widely-researched yet for which no treatment exists that halts the progression of lung disease. Gene therapy involves the transfer of correct copies of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) DNA to the epithelial cells in the airways. The cloning of the CFTR gene in 1989 led to proof-of-principle studies of CFTR gene transfer in vitro and in animal models. The earliest clinical trials in CF patients were conducted in 1993 and used viral and non-viral gene transfer agents in both the nasal and bronchial airway epithelium. To date, studies have focused largely on molecular or bioelectric (chloride secretion) outcome measures, many demonstrating evidence of CFTR expression, but few have attempted to achieve clinical efficacy. As CF is a lifelong disease, turnover of the airway epithelium necessitates repeat administration. To date, this has been difficult to achieve with viral gene transfer agents due to host recognition leading to loss of expression. The UK Cystic Fibrosis Gene Therapy Consortium (Imperial College London, University of Edinburgh and University of Oxford) is currently working on a large and ambitious program to establish the clinical benefits of CF gene therapy. Wave 1, which has reached the clinic, uses a non-viral vector. A single-dose safety trial is nearing completion and a multi-dose clinical trial is shortly due to start; this will be powered for clinically-relevant changes. Wave 2, more futuristically, will look at the potential of lentiviruses, which have long-lasting expression. This review will summarize the current status of translational research in CF gene therapy.
cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene; gene expression; gene transfer agents (GTAs); outcome measures
Even in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) with identical CFTR genotypes, there is a wide range in the severity of lung disease, with some individuals facing death or lung transplantation early in life and others demonstrating mild lung disease well into adulthood. Although numerous environmental factors have been identified that influence CF pulmonary phenotype, there is now growing evidence that polymorphic variants in genes besides CFTR play an important role in determining severity of CF lung disease. This article reviews the most recent findings regarding genetic modifiers in CF and also discusses in detail the strategies currently being used to identify novel modifiers of CF pulmonary phenotype. These include single- and multicenter studies, twin and sib studies, microarray approaches, and whole genome association studies.
cystic fibrosis; genotype; modifier; phenotype; transforming growth factor β
Ivacaftor is a new therapeutic agent that acts at the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) channel to alter activity. It is approved for use in patients 6 years and older with cystic fibrosis who have at least 1 G551D mutation in the CFTR gene. It is unlike any other current pharmacologic agent for cystic fibrosis in that it specifically targets the gene defect associated with cystic fibrosis as opposed to treating resulting symptomology. Mucoactive agents, antibiotics, inhaled beta agonists, and other anti-inflammatory agents are currently the mainstay of cystic fibrosis treatment but can be associated with several side effects in addition to cumbersome frequency of administration. Ivacaftor's oral dosing regimen offers a more convenient treatment option. However, it is associated with significant drug-drug interactions.
cystic fibrosis; CFTR; ivacaftor
Current therapies for Parkinson’s disease significantly improve the quality of life for patients suffering from this neurodegenerative disease, yet none of the current therapies has been convincingly shown to slow or prevent the progression of disease. Much has been learned about the pathophysiology of Parkinson’s disease in recent years, and these discoveries offer a variety of potential targets for protective therapy. Mechanisms implicated in the disease process include oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, protein aggregation and misfolding, inflammation, excitotoxicity, and apoptosis. At the same time, the involvement of these diverse processes makes modeling the disease and evaluation of potential treatments difficult. In addition, available clinical tools are limited in their ability to monitor the progression of the disease. In this review, we summarize the different pathogenic mechanisms implicated in Parkinson’s disease and neuroprotective strategies targeting these mechanisms currently under clinical study or under preclinical development, with a view towards strategies that seem most promising.
oxidative stress; neuroinflammation; excitotoxicity; apoptosis; trophic factors; alpha-synuclein; clinical trials