We have some very exciting news to share with you.
Through your ongoing support CCF has been able to fund Australia’s first gastrointestinal-specific funding scheme for CF research with the first grant recently being awarded.
The winning submission for the inaugural $50,000 grant is a promising one. Put simply, the project will examine gut inflammation, and the microbiome, and hopefully lead to the development of personalised treatments such as CF-specific probiotics.
The study is vital because both inflammation and poor microbiome health in CF are linked to poor growth, GI symptoms and increased cancer risk. Despite these common complications in our community, no GI-specific therapies for those with CF currently exist.
As part of the study, stem cells obtained from gut biopsies from people with CF will be used to grow 2D and 3D organoid culture systems which aims to replicate real life (“mini guts”).
Lead researcher Associate Professor Keith Ooi said the study was a crucial step towards personalised therapies. “Successful personalised therapies would revolutionise CF treatments and other conditions subject to host-microbe interactions,” he said.
Prof. Ooi said there needed to be a more significant focus to be placed on GI clinical care and research and thanked the supporters of Conquer Cystic Fibrosis for making this grant possible. “Historically gut issues were the primary cause of death in children with CF,” he said. “The introduction of pancreatic enzymes and a high-fat and high-calorie diet played a vital part in enabling people with CF to live long enough to develop lung disease, which has become the primary cause of death.
“Understandably, the research focus has been focussed on the lungs in recent decades and CF-specific gastrointestinal research has taken a back seat. “However, as the CF community well knows, gastrointestinal issues are vast, serious, life-limiting and at times embarrassing.” As well as suffering from minimal research focus, Prof. Ooi said there was also a need for more gastrointestinal physicians to be embedded in CF clinics across Australia.
This is something Cystic Fibrosis Australia, our state organisations and our community can continue to keep in mind and lobby for in coming years.
Thanks to research, people with CF are living longer but it’s vital we keep investing in research to combat the vast array of complications this disease throws at us.
This grant is being delivered by the Australian Cystic Fibrosis Research Trust.
We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the team at Cystic Fibrosis Australia for the vital support they have provided in making this research a reality.
Pictured below is lead researcher, Associate Professor Keith Ooi.