Research is at the heart of our fight for a life unlimited. In fact, when we started in 1964, the Cystic Fibrosis Trust was known as the Cystic Fibrosis Research Foundation Trust, so vital was research to changing the lives of people with cystic fibrosis (CF).
Without some huge research breakthroughs – funded by you! – life for people with CF would still be much like it was in 1964, when 90% of those born with the condition died before the age of 10. Every step forward in research and clinical care has helped to save lives – it’s as simple as that.
Please consider continuing your support by setting up a regular gift today. This helps to support research and ensures we can plan ahead and react to CF breakthroughs as they happen.
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The changes you've made
If we tried to name every important change in CF care that's happened as a result of research, we’d be here all week. So let’s take a look at the big one: cross-infection.
In 1993, Professor John Govan, a member of the Trust’s Research Advisory Committee, reported that people with CF could pass Burkholderia cepacia between each other. Today, cross-infection measures are now carried out in CF centres and clinics across the world.
But how does cross-infection work in practice? Hear from Jacqui, a paediatric CF nurse at the Royal London Hospital, about what cross-infection is and how best to avoid it, and Emma, who remembers life before cross-infection.
What's happening today?
In December 2014 we started SmartCareCF, a project that has been exploring how technologies could simplify communication between people with CF and their medical teams, streamline the care they receive, and give them all-important control over their health. Further down the line it's hoped that SmartCareCF could help to reduce clinic visits, predict changes in the health of people with CF and make it easier to initiate antibiotics sooner.
This year, Professor Andres Floto presented his findings from the first SmartCareCF feasibility study at Cystic Fibrosis Canada’s Broken Arrow Conference. In Professor Floto’s presentation, Sammie, who took part in the study, told the audience about the impact it has had on her life.
She said: “It’s definitely had an impact on my health. For 14 months I didn’t need IVs – before this I was being admitted every 12 weeks, so my health has definitely gained big time. My weight’s up, my lung function’s up and I’m sleeping a lot better and exercising more. In the bigger picture, I’m well. If my health stays balanced and stable I can maybe get back to work which, in my eyes, would be fantastic.”
Thank you to everyone who took part in the adult feasibility study, and all those who are currently involved in the CLIMB-CF paediatric study.
What's in the pipeline?
Our Strategic Research Centres (SRCs) bring together the brightest and best researchers from around the world to collaborate on ground-breaking CF research.
One of the first SRCs we were able to fund with your support is led by Professor Jane Davies of Imperial College. Professor Davies’ SRC is looking at three challenges posed by the bug Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which infects almost two in three people with CF by the time they reach young adulthood. With the help of researchers from Australia, Rome, Amsterdam, Southampton and London, this SRC is working to develop better detection methods, improve understanding of the bug and create better treatments that can help people with CF to get rid of it.
We spoke to Isaac Martin from Imperial College, who is working on this SRC, about an important part of his research. Chronic Pseudomonas form ‘biofilms’, a fortress-like structure that helps to protect the bug from antibiotics, and prevents these antibiotics from destroying Pseudomonas.
Hear from Isaac about how his research into bacteriophages, clever viruses that can help to destroy biofilms and treat Pseudomonas faster, could be set to make a huge difference to cystic fibrosis treatment.
Read the research
Tell me more!
Want to find out more about the impact your hard work has had on research over the years? Take a look at 'Research - what the CF?' and see the effect that research breakthroughs have had on the median survival age of people with cystic fibrosis
Find out more
Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for day three of CF Week, when we’ll be exploring information and support and how your tireless fundraising has helped us to lend a helping hand to people with CF and their families when they really need it.
In the meantime, flick through our image gallery below to see how much we have invested in different areas of research over the last five years.