Saskatoon researchers make Cystic Fibrosis breakthrough

A Saskatoon research team hopes their discovery will pave the way for new treatment options for people living with cystic fibrosis.

Dr. Julian Tam told CTV news it was exciting that they were able to contribute to the world of cystic fibrosis science.

Tam’s team of researchers at the University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine partnered with the Respiratory Research Centre and discovered people with cystic fibrosis have issues with sodium absorption within the smallest airways of their lungs.

They used a swine model and a specialized technique called the microelectrode technique that allowed them to the affected lung in high resolution.

“There small airways. These distal airways are challenging to research and our project represented the first time that this atomic site was studied in this particular context,” Tam said.

Tam said more research still needs to be done but feels this breakthrough is a great first step on the path to finding a cure.

“CF research has come so far, as a kid I had to blow bubbles in a jar as my therapy,” said Christie Hanson, who has cystic fibrosis.

“Then you come to this where researchers are working hard to get to the root cause of the disease and it just changes so much and allows us to look to the future.”

The research was funded by the Canadian Institute for Health Research and Cystic Fibrosis Canada. The findings were published in the Cell Reports journal.