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Pediatr Pulmonol. 2018 Nov;53(S3):S4-S11. doi: 10.1002/ppul.24157.

Rapid therapeutic advances in CFTR modulator science.

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Department of Pediatrics, Cincinnati Childrens Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio.


Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an autosomal recessive genetic disease caused by variants in the gene encoding the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conduction regulator (CFTR) protein. Loss of CFTR function disrupts chloride, bicarbonate and regulation of sodium transport, producing a cascade of mucus obstruction, inflammation, pulmonary infection, and ultimately damage in numerous organs. Established CF therapies treat the downstream consequences of CFTR dysfunction and have led to steady improvements in patient survival. A class of drugs termed CFTR modulators has recently entered the CF therapeutic landscape. These drugs differ fundamentally from prior therapies in that they aim to improve the function of disease-causing CFTR variants. This review summarizes the science behind CFTR modulators, including their targets, mechanism of action, clinical benefit, and future directions in the field. CFTR modulators have dramatically changed how CF is treated, validated CFTR as a therapeutic target, and opened the door to truly personalized therapies and treatment regimens.


CFTR; cystic fibrosis; ion transport; modulator


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