Cystic Fibrosis Research

The Science of Adding Tomorrows

When a group of parents started the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in 1955, they set their sights high — to advance understanding of this little known disease, to create new treatments and specialized care for their children, and to find a cure.

Continuous progress has been made toward these goals thanks to the Foundation’s efforts to harness the best minds in science, to recruit the finest research talent and to train dedicated cystic fibrosis care teams.

Part of the CF Foundation’s “formula for success” remains its ability to attract scientists from new fields to join in the mission to increase the length and improve the quality of life for people with cystic fibrosis.

Researchers from diverse disciplines, such as molecular biology, immunology and medicinal chemistry, routinely collaborate to find new strategies to tackle the disease. This multidisciplinary approach to research was pioneered by the CF Foundation, and later adopted by other disease organizations.

The discovery of the CF gene in 1989 — the single most important discovery in CF research — was the result of an international research collaboration. With the CF gene in hand, CF Foundation researchers for the first time could make a healthy version of the gene for further study.

In 1993, the first gene therapy treatment was given to a CF patient, and CF gene therapy research was truly launched. At the same time, other research teams were searching for ways to correct the faulty protein product of the genes and discover new treatments that addressed the symptoms of CF.

By pursuing several research strategies at once, the CF Foundation has built a pipeline of potential new CF therapies. There are approximately 30 potential CF therapies in the CF Foundation's drug development pipeline.

To keep “stocking” this pipeline with promising therapeutics, many CF researchers continue to translate new knowledge from basic science laboratories into potential therapies. Key research programs and initiatives follow.

  • Research Milestones:  Scientists have made steady progress in understanding CF and developing strategies to defeat it.

  • Clinical Research:  The Foundation provides the resources and support for studies that are leading to important new therapies and better treatment.

  • Drug Development Pipeline: Discoveries from the laboratory are being turned into potential drugs that attack both the symptoms of CF and the cause — a faulty gene that makes a protein.

  • Research Centers: These CF "think tanks" are located at top universities and medical schools, where scientists from many disciplines are brought together to combine their expertise to find a cure for CF.

  • Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics: To better support the discovery and development of new therapies, the Foundation created a subsidiary to manage the growing drug pipeline.

  • For Researchers: The Foundation also offers numerous research and training opportunities. From time-to-time, the CF Foundation releases RFAs and RFPs to target specific research topics. Funding opportunities and grant reporting forms also are available.
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