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X-ray of lungs: Patient suffering from Cystic Fibrosis Photo by: Google Images

New Northern Irish drug to target ‘Celtic Gene’ - new hope for Cystic Fibrosis patients

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X-ray of lungs: Patient suffering from Cystic Fibrosis Photo by: Google Images

Scientists at Queen’s University, Belfast, have developed a new drug that could mean new hope for people suffering with Cystic Fibrosis. The drug specifically targets the “Celtic gene”” which is common in Ireland.

Currently almost 70,000 people in Ireland suffer from this disease. Ireland has the highest number of suffers per capita in the world.

Less than a year ago the international group of scientists and specialists from Europe, America and Australia, were granted $2.75 million to research and develop the drug.

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Stuart Elborn from Queen's University, Belfast, co-led the team told the BBC “The development of this drug is significant because it is the first to show that treating the underlying cause of Cystic Fibrosis may have profound effects on the disease, even among people who have been living with it for decades.

"The remarkable reductions in sweat chloride observed in this study support the idea that VX-770 improves protein function thereby addressing the fundamental defect that leads to CF."

Dr Judy Bradley, from the University of Ulster said, "This is a ground breaking treatment because it treats the basic defect caused by the gene mutation in patients.

"Correcting the cells with this mutation shows that treatments aimed at the basic mutation can work leading to improvements in lung function and symptoms."

The drug should be available to patients by next year. The simple drug comprises of to tablets per day.

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