From: McMaster University
Published July 31, 2017 08:58 AM

New technique may better detect cystic fibrosis in newborns

Researchers have identified new biological markers of cystic fibrosis (CF), a genetic disease which affects children and young adults, leaving them with lifelong health complications including digestive problems and persistent lung infections.

The findings, published in the journal ACS Central Science, shed new light on the underlying mechanisms of CF and could lead to improved prognosis and better therapies for a disease which is quite variable, affecting different children in different ways, say researchers.

“There are chemical signatures in sweat that tell us an infant has CF even when they do not exhibit any symptoms,” says Philip Britz-McKibbin, lead author of the study and a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at McMaster University. “We set out to discover whether there were chemical indicators detected in sweat that could complement the gold standard for CF diagnosis: the sweat chloride test.”

The test is commonly used in universal newborn disease-screening programs and measures the concentrations of salt.  Elevated sweat chloride confirms that an infant actually has CF.

Read more at McMaster University

Image: Philip Britz-McKibbin (Credit: McMaster University)

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