Recent advances in cellular and molecular biology have furthered the understanding of several genetic diseases, including cystic fibrosis. Mutations that cause cystic fibrosis are now understood in terms of the specific molecular consequences to the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) protein expression and function. This knowledge has spawned interest in the development of therapies aimed directly at correcting the defective CFTR itself. In this article, we review the molecular defect underlying each recognized class of CFTR mutation and the potential therapies currently under investigation. Opportunities for protein-repair therapy appear to be vast and range from naturally occurring compounds, such as isoflavonoids, to pharmaceuticals already in clinical use, including aminoglycoside antibiotics, butyrate analogues, phosphodiesterase inhibitors, and adenosine nucleotides. Future therapies may resemble designer compounds like benzo[c]quinoliziniums or take the form of small peptide replacements. Given the heterogeneity and progressive nature of cystic fibrosis, however, optimal benefit from protein-repair therapy will most likely require the initiation of combined therapies early in the course of disease to avoid irreparable organ damage. (C) 2000 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, Inc.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine