Expansion of novel therapeutics to all patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) requires personalized CFTR modulator therapy. We have developed nasospheroids, a primary cell culture–based model derived from individual CF patients and healthy subjects by a minimally invasive nasal biopsy. Confocal microscopy was utilized to measure CFTR activity by analyzing changes in cross-sectional area over time that resulted from CFTR-mediated ion and fluid movement. Both the rate of change over time and AUC were calculated. Non-CF nasospheroids with active CFTR-mediated ion and fluid movement showed a reduction in cross-sectional area, whereas no changes were observed in CF spheroids. Non-CF spheroids treated with CFTR inhibitor lost responsiveness for CFTR activation. However, nasospheroids from F508del CF homozygotes that were treated with lumacaftor and ivacaftor showed a significant reduction in cross-sectional area, indicating pharmacologic rescue of CFTR function. This model employs a simple measurement of size corresponding to changes in CFTR activity and is applicable for detection of small changes in CFTR activity from individual patients in vitro. Advancements of this technique will provide a robust model for individualized prediction of CFTR modulator efficacy.


Jennifer S. Guimbellot, Justin M. Leach, Imron G. Chaudhry, Nancy L. Quinney, Susan E. Boyles, Michael Chua, Inmaculada Aban, Ilona Jaspers, Martina Gentzsch


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