Narrator: This is Science Today. The deadly, molecular mechanism behind uncontrolled mucus production, an affliction which kills millions of Americans each year, has been uncovered by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Jay Nadel, a professor of medicine and physiology who led the study, says chronic bronchitis, cystic fibrosis and acute asthma are all examples of what's called hypersecretion.
Nadel: There are cells in the airways that produce secretions and when they overproduce secretions, the airways plug up with mucus and the people drown in their own secretions.
Narrator: Nadel recently discovered a receptor that triggers this mucus overproduction - a finding which may lead to an effective drug therapy for a malady which has no current cure.
Nadel: I'm very excited about it. There's something like 30 million Americans with this problem and there's nothing you can do for them..there's not any drug. So when we came upon this, it very rapidly made me realize that I had an opportunity to do something for people.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.