Chewing the fat

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Experts in gastrointestinal (GI) health from across Europe came together at the Trust’s latest research ‘sandpit’ last week to explore innovative approaches to complications in the GI tract, one of the major causes of ill health faced by people with cystic fibrosis.

The two-day event in Oxford brought together experts within cystic fibrosis and those working outside the field, who took part in a series of discussions, quick-fire pitch sessions and peer-reviewed presentations, and laid the foundations for a number of potential research proposals that could be funded by the Trust.

Key topics to emerge included:

  • The manipulation of microbiota to improve gastrointestinal health.
  • The development of a gastrointestinal tracking measurement algorithm for CF patients.
  • Establishing the molecular basis for distal intestinal obstruction syndrome (DIOS) – a major problem in cystic fibrosis.
  • The identification of biomarkers to guide better targeted, individualised dietary strategies.
  • The possible use of the linaclotide drug for treating CF gut symptoms.
  • Designing a personalised supplement to improve fat absorption and reduce Hydrogen Sulphide production.

One of the participants, Dr Chris Ward, University of Newcastle, said: “This was really hugely interesting and a great privilege to attend. I’m sure this will influence, inform and make a difference.”

Dr Anoushka de Almeida, Head of Research at the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, said: “This research sandpit was a huge success, and we are very grateful to everyone who took part, and to all the people with cystic fibrosis who supplied ideas in advance, via Twitter. Digestion and gastrointestinal health is an important aspect of cystic fibrosis, and we are investing significantly in research in this area, including plans to set up a dedicated Strategic Research Centre.”

Read a blog by David Turner QC, whose daughter has cystic fibrosis, on his experience at the research event.

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