Modifier Gene Studies to Identify New Therapeutic Targets in Cystic Fibrosis
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Since the discovery of the CFTR gene mutations which cause cystic fibrosis (CF) in 1989 the average life expectancy of CF patients has almost doubled and now exceeds 37 years. The advances in molecular diagnostics and medical treatments expanded beyond the CF patient population as some of the newest treatments are also being tested for treatment of complex diseases such as COPD and other inherited disorders. Rapid development of CF therapeutics is important for the cystic fibrosis community and is an excellent example for other nonprofit organizations, disease foundations and pharmaceutical companies alike. Better understanding of disease variability and underlying molecular mechanisms through genetic association studies aimed to identify novel CF modifier genes opens new venues for targeted drug design. Furthermore, these genetic studies allow development of molecular diagnostic tests for patient population stratification and treatment personalization, which is already being done for CF patients with specific mutations in the CFTR gene, as well as implementation of new molecular tests for reliable assessment of disease progression and severity.
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