Nav: Home

Toward a better sweat test for babies with cystic fibrosis

July 31, 2017

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an incurable genetic disease in which patients have chronic lung infections. The sooner CF is diagnosed, the better the symptoms can be managed. But current tests can give ambiguous results that do not reflect disease progression. Today, in ACS Central Science, researchers reveal a new type of sweat test that can overcome this challenge.

Patients with CF have a genetic mutation that promotes mucus buildup and enables biofilms to form in their lungs, leading to frequent lung infections and breathing difficulty. In addition, chloride ions accumulate in these patients, and they excrete this as a "salty" sweat. Physicians have used this interesting effect to develop a sweat test for CF diagnosis. However, the test does not provide any staging or prognostic information and often fails in borderline cases. Most people with the gene (more than 70 percent) are "carriers" who don't develop the disease, so a genetic test alone is also not sufficient to diagnose CF. Philip Britz-McKibbin and colleagues hypothesized that there could be other molecules found in sweat that would provide the basis for a better test.

The researchers profiled the chemical composition of sweat from screen-positive infants including both unaffected carriers and confirmed CF cases. They identified several unknown chemicals in sweat that were consistently associated in babies who had CF, in addition to chloride. The researchers suggest that testing for these alternative molecules could be done for cases in which the chloride sweat test is too close to call. They also intend to track the progression of CF and monitor treatment responses to therapy in children using these and other sweat molecules.
The authors acknowledge funding from Cystic Fibrosis Canada, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canada Foundation for Innovation and McMaster University.

The paper will be freely available on July 31, 2017, at 8 a.m. Eastern time at this link:

The American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society, is a not-for-profit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS is a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. ACS does not conduct research, but publishes and publicizes peer-reviewed scientific studies. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

To automatically receive news releases from the American Chemical Society, contact

Follow us: Twitter | Facebook

American Chemical Society

Related Cystic Fibrosis Articles:

Cystic fibrosis alters the structure of mucus in airways
Cystic fibrosis (CF) alters the structure of mucus produced in airway passages.
Cystic fibrosis study offers new understanding of silent changes in genes
Researchers studying the root cause of cystic fibrosis have made a major advance in our understanding of silent gene changes with implications for the complexity of cystic fibrosis.
New imaging technique shows effectiveness of cystic fibrosis drug
Cystic fibrosis currently has no cure, though a drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration treats the underlying cause of the disease.
New study resolves the structure of the human protein that causes cystic fibrosis
In order to better understand how genetic mutations give rise to cystic fibrosis, researchers need to map the protein responsible for the disorder.
New molecules identified that could help in the fight to prevent cystic fibrosis
New research has identified new molecules that could help in the fight to prevent diseases caused by faulty ion channels, such as cystic fibrosis.
More Cystic Fibrosis News and Cystic Fibrosis Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#534 Bacteria are Coming for Your OJ
What makes breakfast, breakfast? Well, according to every movie and TV show we've ever seen, a big glass of orange juice is basically required. But our morning grapefruit might be in danger. Why? Citrus greening, a bacteria carried by a bug, has infected 90% of the citrus groves in Florida. It's coming for your OJ. We'll talk with University of Maryland plant virologist Anne Simon about ways to stop the citrus killer, and with science writer and journalist Maryn McKenna about why throwing antibiotics at the problem is probably not the solution. Related links: A Review of the Citrus Greening...