Testing Garlic: A New Weapon in the Fight Against CF Lung Infections?

February 2, 2007

A novel approach to fighting Pseudomonas infections in the lungs of people with CF is being tested in a new pilot study in the United Kingdom. Volunteers with CF will be given capsules of either garlic extract or a placebo (olive oil) for two months and the levels of bacteria in their sputum will be measured.

The potential of garlic extract as an antipseudomonal agent was supported by the results of a study conducted in Denmark. In that study, exposure of Pseudomonas to garlic extract made the bacteria more sensitive to tobramycin and to immune defense system cells. The garlic extract also provided mice with significant protection from Pseudomonas lung infections. The new trial is being conducted at the University of Nottingham under the direction of Dr. Alan Smyth. Safety of the extract will be examined in addition to any potentially positive effects on weight and lung function.