Human life longevity over the past century can be attributed significantly to advances in medical research. Vaccines against measles and polio, insulin treatment for diabetes, antibiotic classes for the treatment of a variety of diseases, medication for high blood pressure, improved treatments for AIDS, statins and other treatments have been among the main benefits of medical research. One such medical research on the treatment of cystic fibrosis has set a breakthrough in the medical field.
The average survival age of a cystic fibrosis patient is 47 years. Although cystic fibrosis is caused by a single gene dysfunction and is used for the treatment of CFTR mutations, the relationship between the abnormal gene product, the cause of inflammation, and the development of the disease is not entirely understood.
In a recent study conducted by the researchers at the Stanley Manne Childre’s Research Institute at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago, scientists collected blood samples from cystic fibrosis patients and evaluated the sequence and levels of a selected set of genes to understand the progression of CF disease and ultimately improve patient care. The genetic data obtained were then linked to the medical history of patients.
The study identified molecular signatures of cystic fibrosis from a blood test conducted during a routine clinical visit. A better understanding of these molecular signatures can lead to unique molecular markers that can help intervene earlier in changes in the inflammatory response of a patient to airway infection or pancreatic function, enabling a more accurate treatment. This was a massive improvement in the treatment system.
To identify baseline molecular signatures in cystic fibrosis, genomic information from patients’ blood samples were extracted using cutting edge technologies. This genomic information was then merged into every individual’s clinical history present in the electronic medical record system.
The research is still progressing, and it is not clear why cystic fibrosis patients are prone to chronic lung infections as they have a functional immune system. The reason why CF patients are easily infected is being researched by examining immune cells found in cystic fibrosis. Discoveries and ongoing researches are indeed efforts toward a disease-free world in the future.