IRISH researchers are giving new hope to cystic fibrosis sufferers who can be infected with potentially dangerous superbugs.
A study presented to a conference at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) revealed how the research team has been able to make modifications to molecules which mimic those that occur in the bodies of healthy people, helping them fight bacteria.
These molecules, known as host defence peptides (HDPs), are absent or not fully active in cystic fibrosis patients.
The HDPs were tested in the lab against pseudomonas aerinosa – the most common bug which can infect people with cystic fibrosis.
They were successful in killing the bacteria in lung fluid which contains substances that could potentially block the treatment.
The rate of cystic fibrosis in Ireland may be the highest in the world, affecting 1,200 people, who fear getting infections.
The study was led by Eanna Forde, researcher at the RCSI Departments of Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry, and Clinical Microbiolog.
"We have shown the potential of this new class of antimicrobial therapeutics for use in cystic fibrosis and other chronic illness," he said.
"As many antibiotics become less effective with time, new treatments such as the host defence peptides being developed at RCSI will become vital in controlling infection in cystic fibrosis where long-term bacterial infections of the lung reduce life expectancy."