Associate Professor David Parsons with a group of Adelaide and Monash University scientists have been developing new X-Ray imaging techniques to examine and understand airway health – particularly in relation to Cystic Fibrosis. The main focus of the work has been on developing a technique to measure the thickness of the very thin airway surface liquid (ASL) layer present on the walls of all airways, using special X-rays.
The ASL layer is tiny but very important, as it affects the body’s ability to capture and sweep away all the pathogens (viruses, bacteria, fungi, dust, etc) that we breathe in. In patients with CF, this layer is too shallow, and the retained pathogens cause inflammation and infection that result in worsening and irreversible lung damage.
For Dr Parsons and his researchers, the ASL layer is of additional scientific significance. An increase in the depth of the ASL layer is the first biophysical change expected to result from the corrective CF airway gene therapy approach being developed by the group. The ability to rapidly, accurately and non-invasively measure the thickness of the ASL layer will be of key importance in evaluating the success of their work towards a lasting genetic treatment to correct or effectively treat the lung disease in CF.
The new imaging techniques are being developed through use of the SPring-8 Synchrotron, located near Osaka, Japan. Through the provision of travel support for the initial trips, the Cure4CF Foundation has played an important role in enabling this exciting research.
Read the full story..