Developing new drugs for lung infections in cystic fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited condition and is New Zealand’s most common lethal genetic disease. One in 3000-3500 infants born in New Zealand will have CF. These children are highly susceptible to lung infections. In particular, chronic P. aeruginosa airway infection and the accompanying inflammatory response are the major clinical problems for CF patients. Current treatments to combat P. aeruginosa infection include airway clearance and antibiotics. However, development of resistance to many commonly used antibiotics has necessitated an urgent need to develop new drugs that target P. aeruginosa.This research will focus on designing new drugs for treatment of lung infections with P. aeruginosa in patients with CF. We will target a key enzyme found in P. aeruginosa. This enzyme is involved in making the toxic secondary metabolite, pyocyanine. When released by the bacteria, pyocyanine can cause major lung injury in patients. The new drugs we aim to develop will provide a novel strategy for killing the bacteria and additionally minimize the toxicity associated with secretion of pyocyanine.