LifeArc & Cystic Fibrosis Trust announce £15M research funding to fast track treatment of lung infections

News -

Today Cystic Fibrosis Trust and LifeArc announced a £15m research programme. The aim is to create a new Translational Innovation Hub Network that will fast track new research and treatments to improve the quality of life for people with CF. 

Co-funded  by medical research charity LifeArc and Cystic Fibrosis Trust, the new hub network for Lung Health and Infection in cystic fibrosis will look to fast track discoveries of new diagnostic tests, drug treatments, medical devices, and other digital solutions. 

It will also help transform the way infections are detected, treated and managed and provide a training ground in respiratory infection and lung health for the next generation of scientists and clinicians.  


How will the hubs help people with CF? 

People with cystic fibrosis are at the centre of what we do. In November, you told us what your top ten research priorities are, so we can fund the research that matters to you most. This new hub network will aim to address a number of these key priorities around infection and lung health. 

Some of the challenges faced by people living with cystic fibrosis are also encountered by others with chronic respiratory conditions, so this programme will also likely have a wider impact and benefit many more people here in the UK and worldwide. 


What is an Innovation Hub? 

This new Translational Innovation Hub Network will build on the success of the Trust’s existing Innovation Hub at the University of Cambridge. The programme, which began in 2018, is funded by AJN Steelstock, the Robert Luff Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation along with a number of donors, trusts and companies. The  Innovation Hub has created a hub of harnessed multidisciplinary world-class research across different disciplines, to speed up progress towards preventing lung damage in CF and the subsequent loss of lung function. 


The new Hub network, due to start in Summer 2024, will now provide additional capacity by creating up to three interconnected Innovation Hubs. Each Hub will focus on developing advancements to help people with cystic fibrosis as well as support better understanding and management of chronic lung infections.  

This new research funding partnership marks an exciting and innovative investment in understanding and fast-tracking treatment of lung infections for people with CF, informed by the input of people living with the condition, who play a vital role in the direction and governance of the Hub Network.

By working with LifeArc and combining our expertise, we are able to significantly expand our current Hub approach, building capability and capacity and across the (UK) CF research landscape. The commitment from LifeArc will enable the Trust to leverage our co-funding to deliver the best possible outcome from this research to maximise the impact for people with cystic fibrosis.

Dr Lucy Allen, Director of Research and Healthcare data at Cystic Fibrosis Trust

Having chronic lung infections means that over the years, I’ve exhausted a number of antibiotics. Recent research successes in the development of modulator drugs like Kaftrio mean that rather than having to get IV antibiotics 4-5 times a year, this is down to once a year. But infections still cause lung damage, and there are also so many people with CF who are unable to benefit from modulators. It’s important that Innovation Hubs like these continue to make new advances and ensure everyone with CF can live a life unlimited.

Candice King, Involvement Manager at Cystic Fibrosis Trust, who has cystic fibrosis

LifeArc’s investment in the programme is part of its Chronic Respiratory Infection Translational Challenge - which will see the organisation invest up to £100m by 2030 in collaborative projects specifically designed to deliver new tests, treatments and technology that will stop the development of flare-ups of infections (known as exacerbations) and long-term lung damage for people living with cystic fibrosis and bronchiectasis.

Our investment is part of an ambitious long-term research programme and one of a number of scientific projects that are underway focussing on accelerating innovation for people with chronic respiratory infections.

This new research programme in partnership with Cystic Fibrosis Trust, will provide an ecosystem that promotes and develops knowledge and innovation as well as being a catalyst for progress in an area where there is significant unmet patient need.

Ultimately, our goal is to enable people living with cystic fibrosis and other chronic respiratory conditions such as bronchiectasis to live longer, spend less time in hospital and have a much-improved quality of life.

Dr Catherine Kettleborough, Chronic Respiratory Infection Translational Challenge lead at LifeArc

How to apply 

The Hubs within the network will be awarded and funded through a two-stage, open, peer-reviewed competition. The first, expression of interest stage is now open and the deadline for submission of applications is Monday 31 July. For further details, see the Translational Innovation Hub Network page of Cystic Fibrosis Trust’s website. 


Since 1964, we've supported people with cystic fibrosis to live longer, healthier lives -and we won’t stop until everyone can live without limits imposed by CF.  

Despite improvements in treatments, cystic fibrosis is still a cruel condition without a cure and there is still so much more to do to stop CF damaging and shortening lives. 

Our generous donors are helping  to fund our first Innovation Hub which runs until Spring 2024, and  harnesses world-class research to help improve the quality of life for people with CF. We need your help to build more hubs, speed up progress, and make sure everyone with CF can live a life unlimited. 

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