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Wednesday, 12 August, 1998, 18:54 GMT 19:54 UK
Scientists hail new CF treatment
Breathing
Help could be on hand for cystic fibrosis sufferers
Scientists are confident they have found an effective treatment for one of the most distressing effects of cystic fibrosis.

Cystic fibrosis is serious genetic disease that causes all the exocrine glands in the body to malfunction. These include sweat glands, the pancreas and glands that control mucus excretion.

CF patients have an average life expectancy of about 31 years.

Breathing difficulties

They are vulnerable to infection in the airways that can cause inflammation with the lung tissues becoming damaged.

But doctors believe that the drug heparin can reduce the inflammation and improve the patient's breathing.

Heparin is an anticoagulant drug that stops the blood from clotting. It is widely used in the treatment of lung, blood vessel and heart disorders, and is administered during after open heart or heart bypass surgery.

Clears obstructed airways

Dr Jan Shute
Dr Jan Shute: leading the research
Research scientist Dr Jan Shute said: "In patients with cystic fibrosis, the airways get quite obstructed with secretions.

"Heparin will not only reduce the amount of secretion that is produced, but actually help in clearing it from the airways."

Dr Shute hopes to launch a clinical trial later this year. If successful, it will be extended to include both adults and children.

See also:

28 Jul 98 | Health
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