Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Commits $100 Million to Infection Research

Funding will support improved detection, diagnosis, prevention, and
treatment of infections related to CF

BETHESDA, Md.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation announced today that it will commit at
least $100 million over the next five years as part of a sweeping effort
to address the chronic and intractable infections that are a hallmark of
cystic fibrosis (CF). The Infection Research Initiative is a
comprehensive approach to improve outcomes associated with infections
through enhanced detection, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment.

Infection is a leading cause of loss of lung function among patients
with CF and, as a result, frequent and long-term use of anti-infectives
is often a necessary burden of managing the disease. Even with the
introduction of highly effective disease modifying therapies, we
estimate that approximately half of the CF population may continue to
require improved anti-infective treatments in 20 years,” said William R.
Skach, M.D., senior vice president of research affairs for the CF
Foundation. “A comprehensive approach is needed to make meaningful
progress against this complex challenge, and we have set out a bold
agenda in research and drug development to drive advances that will help
enable people with CF to live full and healthy lives.”

Preston W. Campbell, III, M.D., president and CEO of the CF Foundation
added, “Advances in care have drastically increased both life expectancy
and quality of life for people with CF—today, many people in our
community are reaching milestones we never thought possible. Through
this initiative, we are committed to transforming diagnosis and
treatment of infections just as we have done in other areas of CF care.”

Dr. Skach announced the initiative at the North American Cystic Fibrosis
Conference in Denver to an audience of more than 5,000 leaders in CF
research and care. The effort more than doubles the Foundation’s
previous investment in this area over the last five years.

Widespread problem, significant burden of disease

Infections take a significant physical and mental toll on people with CF
and remain a top concern of both patients and clinicians. People with CF
who have chronic infections are at greater risk for worsening lung
disease and death. Many individuals also suffer severe side effects from
long-term antibiotic use, such as hearing loss, and are at increased
risk of developing antibiotic resistant infections.

The vast majority of people with CF experience complications from
infections with microorganisms (such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi).
Along with Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa) (44.6
percent prevalence), other challenging bacteria can include Achromobacter
(5.8 percent prevalence), Burkholderia cepacia (B. cepacia)
(2.4 percent prevalence), and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus
aureus
(MRSA) (25 percent prevalence). Nontuberculous mycobacteria
(NTM) infections are also becoming increasingly common in people with CF
and can be associated with rapid decline in lung function.

A far-reaching approach

The Infection Research Initiative will take a broad approach to
advancing research into CF-related microorganisms, including:

  • Identifying new ways to detect microorganisms and diagnose infections;
  • Enhancing understanding of CF microorganisms and how they are acquired;
  • Supporting the development of safe and effective treatments, including
    antibiotics, antivirals, and antifungals;
  • Optimizing current treatments to improve outcomes and minimize
    treatment burden;
  • Evaluating the impact of long-term or frequent, intermittent
    antimicrobial use; and
  • Understanding how infections are influenced by disease-modifying
    treatments.

The effort builds on a significant body of work that is already
underway: In 2017, the Foundation awarded $17.3 million in funding
across more than 120 different projects, including more than 10
discovery and development programs with industry.

About the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is the world’s leader in the search for a
cure for cystic fibrosis. The Foundation funds more CF research than any
other organization, and nearly every CF drug available today was made
possible because of Foundation support. Based in Bethesda, Md., the
Foundation also supports and accredits a national care center network
that has been recognized by the National Institutes of Health as a model
of care for a chronic disease. The CF Foundation is a donor-supported
nonprofit organization. For more information, visit www.cff.org.

Contacts

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Jess Rowlands, Senior Director of
Communications and Media
518-598-3168
jrowlands@cff.org

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