Teaming treatments has long been a strategy to quell cancer, override mutations, and fight viruses. Will that be a winning strategy against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19?
Surgery, chemo, and radiation are the traditional triple-punch against cancer, with more recent targeted therapies moving to the frontline. The same road has unfolded for cystic fibrosis (CF).
Fixing Errant Ion Channels
The first treatments for CF were simple: pounding on the chest to dislodge sticky mucus, sprinkling digestive enzymes on applesauce, and using old drugs to combat inflammation and infection.
The new CF drugs that have revolutionized treatment for most patients are small molecules that interact with the malformed ion channels that lie behind the disease. The channels are tiny tubes built of cells festooned with proteins that regulate the balance of water and salts in many body parts – hence the diverse symptoms of breathing difficulty, poor fat digestion, salty sweat, lung infections, and male infertility.
The new drugs work in three related ways.
To continue reading, go to my blog DNA Science, where this post first appeared.