October 27, 2008

New Cystic Fibrosis Blood Test Developed

U.S. scientists say they've developed a simple gene-based blood test that can more accurately and quickly measure cystic fibrosis patients' therapy response.

Researchers at National Jewish Medical and Research Center said the test, a measure of inflammatory gene expression, could improve patient care and help clear a backlog of promising medications now hung up in clinical trials.

"The currently accepted test, a measure of a patients' ability to exhale air, has several limitations that make it ineffective for some patients and not sensitive enough for clinical trials of many new medications," said Assistant Professor Milene Saavedra, lead author of the study. "By measuring the activity of genes associated with the immune/inflammatory response, we can get a more accurate picture of the biological processes occurring inside the lungs."

A small "proof-of-principal" trial involving the new test is reported in the Nov. 1 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.