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$2.8 million grant boosts cystic fibrosis research at Queen's

Scientists at Queen's University Belfast have begun work into improving the lives of thousands of Cystic Fibrosis sufferers thanks to the award of a 1.74 million US-Ireland Research and Development Partnership grant.

The grant has been approved by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the USA with funding for the Queen's component provided by Health and Social Care Research and Development (HSC R&D Public Health Agency), Northern Ireland and the Medical Research Council. The grant is the largest ever to be awarded in the UK to study the microbiology of Cystic Fibrosis pulmonary infection.

The study is a collaborative US-Ireland international study with researchers in the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland, Dublin, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA and the School of Pharmacy and the Centre for Infection and Immunity at Queen's University, Belfast.

Leading the study, Professor Stuart Elborn, Director of the Centre for Infection and Immunity in the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at Queen's said; "The key goals of this study are to find out the role of anaerobes in causing damage to the lungs of people with Cystic Fibrosis. Anaerobes are bacteria that do not need oxygen to survive and we will determine whether their presence in the lung contributes to infection there.

We will also examine whether the bacteria are able to produce chemicals that can damage lung tissue and break down antibiotics given to treat lung infection. We will also look at how effective different antibiotics are in treating them."

He added; "The results of the study will be of important clinical relevance to people with Cystic Fibrosis because if we show that these anaerobes are contributing to infection and inflammation in the lungs of Cystic Fibrosis patients, in the future, patients could potentially be given more appropriate and effective antibiotics which should improve their clinical outcome and quality of life."

The research project has been funded for five years with an aim of recruiting a total of 450 Cystic Fibrosis patients across the three sites. The work will be performed in the 'US-Ireland Anaerobe Laboratory' in the Medical Biology Centre which has been recently refurbished - specifically to facilitate the delivery of this project.


Contact: Claire O'Callaghan
Queen's University Belfast

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