16-Year-Old Makes Promising Find on Cystic Fibrosis

Teen's research could lead to better drug therapy
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 12, 2011 5:53 PM CDT
A Toronto teenager has made a promising discovery about cystic fibrosis.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Encouraging new research on the treatment of cystic fibrosis comes courtesy of an 11th-grader. Toronto 16-year-old Marshall Zhang figured out via computer simulations that two drugs have the potential to make a powerful combination in treating the disease, reports LiveScience. He then tried out his theory on living cells: "They actually worked together in creating an effect that was greater than the sum of its parts," says Zhang, who won top honors in a Canadian student research contest.

The drug combo hasn't been tested on human subjects yet, but Zhang thinks the work will be helpful even if those tests aren't as successful. "I have identified certain chemical structures that are key in the corrective effects of these molecules, as well as identified two molecular targets on the protein for future therapeutics."

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