UVA researchers studying mucus to make a difference in cystic fibrosis patients

UVA researchers look into mucus
UVA researchers look into mucus(WVIR)
Updated: Jul. 20, 2020 at 8:34 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - More than 70,000 children and young adults struggle to breathe from cystic fibrosis each day. The disease causes a build up of mucus in the lungs.

Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Engineering are working towards a solution. The National Institutes of Health gave them a five-year $3.2 million grant to look into the interactions of mucins.

Researchers from UVA and across the country are hoping to create a computer model to understand which genes cause cystic fibrosis and other diseases.

Roseanne Ford is a professor of chemical engineering at UVA and has been working on the research to determine if properties of mucus can affect whether or not an infection can occur in diseases like cystic fibrosis.

“I think one of the important outcomes from this will be tools that doctors and clinicians can use to improve their approaches for treatment and maybe for prevention of different health issues related to mucosa,” Ford said.

Jason Papin is a professor biomedical engineering and helped submit the application for the research grant.

“Cystic fibrosis is one example where there’s an overproduction of mucus in the lungs to create this environment where bacteria can come in, settle in, and create a significant health problem. By understanding how bacteria interact with these molecules, we can understand better how to stop these infections from settling in,” Papin said.

The researchers are hoping this will create a drug to prevent cystic fibrosis and other related diseases.

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