Cystic fibrosis (CF) patients suffer from severe lung infection and inflammation, which leads to irreversible lung damage and death. As CF is the most common life shortening condition in Caucasians, there is an urgent need to develop novel therapies.
The focus has mainly been on remedies to improve airway clearance and antibiotics to treat infections, with limited success. There is a growing interest in addressing the inflammatory response in CF patients. Significant side effects of existing anti-inflammatory drugs such as
corticosteroids have limited their use in the clinic, hence emphasizing the need for novel antiinflammatory approaches.
In this project, the anti-inflammatory potential of various bacteria present in the CF lung will be explored. These beneficial bacteria will be exploited as therapeutic targets by identifying the bacterial and/or host products that exert anti-inflammatory properties. Discoveries in the
laboratory will be validated in CF patients by correlating the presence of beneficial antiinflammatory bacteria with lung inflammation.
This innovative approach has the advantage that the agents to be discovered are derived from bacteria and/or host products that naturally occur in the lung. Thus, side effects are likely to be minimized. In addition to offering novel therapeutic perspectives for CF, knowledge gained from this project will have important applications for other inflammatory diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder.