Innovative Cystic Fibrosis research to be explored

Apr 10 2017

Innovative Cystic Fibrosis research to be explored

Dr Jay Horvat will work with Professors Phil Hansbro and Peter Walk on a new investigation exploring the role and therapeutic targeting of iron in Cystic Fibrosis thanks to a new grant from the Australian Cystic Fibrosis Research Trust.

This Innovation Award will enable Jay and his team to explore initial novel concepts into Cystic Fibrosis (CF) over the next year.

Cystic Fibrosis is a life-limiting genetic disease characterised by severe breathing difficulties caused by thick mucous in the airways and by frequent and chronic respiratory infections.

One in 25 Australians carry a defective gene (CFTR), and one in 3000 births results in Cystic Fibrosis.

The life expectancy of people with CF is around 38 years, with the respiratory failure due to bronchiectasis the leading cause of death.

Healthcare costs are high, with associated personal and social costs from impaired quality of life impacting on both people living with CF and their families.

While there have been improvements in management or treatment of CF, more effective therapies are urgently required for infections such as Pseudomonas.

The role of iron levels in people with CF is an area that the team are looking to explore as high iron levels in the lung lead to increased susceptibility to infection with Pseudomonas and subsequent disease progression and pulmonary exacerbations in CF.

An increased understanding of the role that increased iron levels in the lung play in CF may identify iron as a biomarker for CF exacerbations and could lead to improved therapies for the prevention or management of the disease.

The Australian Cystic Fibrosis Research Trust bestows the annual Innovation Award, to allow CF researchers to explore novel concepts at the initial feasibility stage, with the aim of generating sufficient data to continue the research after the preliminary 12-month-period.

Jay intends on using the data collected from the study to be used to generate grant applications for submission to research funding bodies to fund a large translational study that will investigate the interplay between iron and infection in Cystic Fibrosis.

The grant was awarded at the TSANZ AGM which took place on Saturday 25th March at 5pm at the TSANZSRS Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) in Canberra.