Dr. Richard Rozmahel with the Lawson Research Group in London, Ontario has discovered the gene responsible for the production of excess mucus in the lungs and intestines of mice. A similar gene exists in humans. The gene mCLCA3 is responsible for clearing away mucus that normally builds up in patients who suffer from Cystic Fibrosis; one of the most common diseases in the U.S. to cause premature death. Mucus is unable to be cleared from the lungs and builds up in layers, clogging passageways for breathing. This prevents the individual from breathing effectively during times of activity. In addition, the mucus build up causes damage to the lung tissue from inflammation. The lungs become irreversibly damaged. Another major complication is the invasion of bacteria into the mucus layer. People with CF rarely live beyond their 30’s and many require lung translplants.
The discovery of mCLCA3 may pave the road for scientists to invent a treatment that effectively manages the abnormal levels of this gene; allowing the mucus to be cleared and resulting in a better and longer quality of life for sufferers.
A full copy of this press release can be found at Eureka Alert.