Scotland

New drug 'could ease symptoms of cystic fibrosis'

X-ray Image copyright SPL
Image caption Cystic fibrosis causes mucus damage to the lungs

Scottish researchers believe a new drug could ease the symptoms of people with cystic fibrosis.

Lynovex, developed by Aberdeen-based bio-technology company Novabiotics, is one of a number of new drugs being worked on to tackle the condition.

Cystic fibrosis affects one in every 2,500 babies born in Britain.

Sufferers often die before they reach 40 as mucus from the disease damages their lungs, risking infection.

Lynovex controls the bacteria and fungi that causes lung infections and could help the lungs to work effectively for as long as possible.

The results of Phase II clinical trials are due to be presented today in Brussels at the annual conference of the European Cystic Fibrosis Society.

Aberdeen-based Novabiotics concentrates on developing drugs for conditions which are rare or difficult to treat.

Last month, it was announced that a new combination drug had been developed which stops the genetic disorder damaging the lungs.

However, although the new drug is suitable for a lot of patients, it is not yet a 100% cure and there remains a critical need for more effective, safe, long-term treatments.

Lynovex breaks down the sticky mucus in the lungs of patients.

The active component of the new medicine is Cysteamine, a drug used for 20 years to treat an unrelated rare condition called cystinosis.

The fact it is already approved for clinical use means it could be quickly approved for use on people with cystic fibrosis.

"We know it's safe," said Novabiotics principal scientist Dr Douglas Fraser-Pitt. "Now we just need to prove its effectiveness in this group of patients in further trials.

"It has the potential to make a big difference to care.

"It is also a re-purposed drug so there is lots of potential for this drug to reach everyone who needs it quickly."

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