Learn about cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that affects the lungs, pancreas, and other organs, and how to treat and live with this chronic disease.
CF is a rare genetic disease found in about 30,000 people in the U.S. If you have CF or are considering testing for it, knowing about the role of genetics in CF can help you make informed decisions about your health care.
If you or your child has just been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, or your doctor has recommended testing for CF, you may have many questions.
Diagnosing CF is a multistep process. A complete diagnostic evaluation should include a newborn screening, a sweat chloride test, a genetic or carrier test, and a clinical evaluation at a CF Foundation-accredited care center.
Raising a child with cystic fibrosis can bring up many questions because CF affects many aspects of your child’s life. Here you’ll find resources to help you manage your child’s daily needs and find the best possible CF care.
Living with cystic fibrosis comes with many challenges, including medical, social, and financial. By learning more about how you can manage your disease every day, you can ultimately help find a balance between your busy lifestyle and your CF care.
People with CF are living longer, healthier lives than ever before. As an adult with CF, you may reach key milestones you might not have considered. Planning for these life events requires careful thought as you make decisions that may impact your life.
People with cystic fibrosis are living longer and more fulfilling lives, thanks in part to specialized CF care and a range of treatment options.
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation-accredited care centers provide expert care and specialized disease management to people living with cystic fibrosis.
We provide funding for and accredit more than 120 care centers and 53 affiliate programs nationwide. The high quality of specialized care available throughout the care center network has led to the improved length and quality of life for people with CF.
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation provides standard care guidelines based on the latest research, medical evidence, and consultation with experts on best practices.
As a clinician, you’re critical in helping people with CF maintain their quality of life. We’re committed to helping you partner with patients and their families by providing resources you can use to improve and continue to provide high-quality care.
As part of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's mission to help improve the lives of people living with cystic fibrosis, the PSDC initiative taps the CF community to inform key efforts to support the management of daily care.
Your cystic fibrosis care team includes a group of CF health care professionals who partner with you to provide specialized, comprehensive CF care.
Many people living with cystic fibrosis and their families face complicated issues related to getting the care they need. Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Compass makes sure that no one has to do it alone.
CF Foundation Compass is a service that helps people with CF and their families with navigating insurance options, connecting to legal information and experts, finding available financial resources, and tackling other life issues.
CF care team members are paramount in providing highly specialized care to people living with CF. CF Foundation Compass can help by serving as a strategic ally for care teams, so team members can focus on their patients’ care.
CF Foundation Compass can help you navigate insurance, financial, legal, and other issues you are facing. Use this online form to start your conversation with a Compass case manager today.
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is the world’s leader in the search for a cure for CF and supports a broad range of research initiatives to tackle the disease from all angles.
The CF Foundation offers a number of resources for learning about clinical trials and treatments that are being developed to improve the treatment of cystic fibrosis.
Our understanding of CF continues to evolve as scientists study what causes the disease and how it affects the body. These insights drive the development of new and better treatments and bring us one step closer to a cure.
Researchers, supported by the CF Foundation, have made tremendous advances to improve the health and quality of life of people with CF. We are committed to providing the tools and resources you need to continuously build upon this work.
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has committed at least $100 million from 2019-2023 to the Infection Research Initiative, a comprehensive effort to improve the detection, diagnosis, treatment, and outcomes of CF-related infections. Since the launch in 2018, the Foundation has awarded over $58 million to infection research.
The Infection Research Initiative is a robust, comprehensive program to improve our knowledge of cystic fibrosis-related infections, develop safe and effective treatments, and improve current treatments for people with CF. Since its 2018 launch, the initiative
has already significantly expanded the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s infection research portfolio. Key highlights include:
The Infection Research Steering Committee -- made up of CF community members and experts in CF clinical care, research, and drug development -- created a comprehensive research program focused around six key priorities:
To help patients and clinicians make informed decisions about the best course of treatment, researchers are conducting studies to determine whether to monitor or treat a detected microorganism in the lungs or sinuses. For example, in some cases, early
treatment for colonization may be unnecessary, while in others, it may be best to take preemptive action.
To help move potential treatments quickly through clinical trials in humans, we need to develop models of the CF lungs to use in preclinical studies to determine if a new drug will work in people with CF. However, the lungs of someone infected by cystic
fibrosis are unique and difficult to replicate. To overcome that problem, the Foundation supports research into new systems that can replicate the environment of the CF lung. For example, the “lung on a chip” is a microchip that can mimic how the
lung responds to different stimuli.
To make the most effective use of current therapies, research is being conducted to understand how therapies may interact with other medications and whether people with CF need to adjust their doses or courses of treatment accordingly. We are
also supporting research to look at combinations of therapies for infection to determine which combinations are most effective against NTM, MRSA, and Pseudomonas.
People with CF are prescribed antibiotics frequently or may take antibiotics long-term as part of their standard daily care. The CF Foundation is interested in research projects to understand the risks and benefits of antimicrobial use and their
related complications and is funding research to mitigate or treat known risks, such as hearing loss.
Since the Infection Research Initiative launched in 2018, our funding for infections has more than doubled with more than $58 million committed to the research and development of new therapies for infection. The Foundation issued two requests for applications
from researchers in August 2019 that included direct input from CF community members. Once applications were received, a committee of experts in CF research reviewed them for their scientific merit and relevance to the Foundation mission.
Progress is being made to explore new areas of infection research and advance priorities identified by the steering committee and the CF community. Scientists are studying key CF microorganisms across all six areas of research focus identified by the Infection Research Initiative.
The current infection research portfolio serves as a snapshot of where we are now and provides a benchmark to demonstrate how far we have come, especially in areas that have been identified by the community as priorities (e.g., fungal). We are pleased
to note progress in areas of priority to the CF community, including rare gram-negative infections such as Burkholderia, fungal infections, and research
to understand the impact of CFTR modulators on CF infections.
For a list of the academic-led infection research projects initiated in 2018 and 2019, please refer to the Academic
Infection Research Portfolio. The list includes the lead investigator,
institution, title of each project, as well as the breakdown of focus area and microorganisms addressed.
Graphs 1 and 2 depict our 2019 infection research portfolio as compared to the 2018 baseline, which is used as a benchmark to measure our success in diversifying our research and addressing priorities raised by the CF community.
Overall, nearly 80 new projects were funded in 2019, a 44 percent increase over the number of new projects in 2018. Progress is observed in an increase in fungal funding for 2019, which was not previously on the board. In addition, up to $5 million was
awarded to Armata Pharmaceuticals for the first-ever controlled clinical study of phage
in people with CF. There is also a significant increase in funding for Burkholderia cepacia (B. cepacia) complex, including a drug development program focused on screening compounds that could be used to treat these rare, but serious
infections. As researchers start to focus more on microbial communities and how microbes interact with each other instead of studying them individually, projects that look at multiple organisms have increased. Because microbes are rarely found alone,
these studies can help us better understand microbes in a more realistic environment.
“Other” includes programs in Stenotrophomonas maltophilia and other gram-negative bacteria. Click to enlarge.
Consistent with our goal to fund areas that will directly impact people with CF, there were substantial increases in funding programs developing new treatments, looking at the future of CF infections, and optimizing current treatments. For example, the
Foundation awarded up to $5.6 million to Microbion Corp. to develop a novel, inhaled
antibiotic to treat drug-resistant bacteria. Visit the Drug Development Pipeline to learn more about new therapies in development or already in use by patients.
With the future of CF infections in mind, the Foundation dedicated a portion of the PROMISE study
to increase our understanding of the changes in the microbiome and infection status of people with CF who start on the triple-combination modulator Trikafta®.
The PROMISE study, which was fully enrolled in 2020, will assess the overall impact of Trikafta on people with CF.
The microorganisms identified in the graphs and listed below are being studied in the current infection research portfolio. Microorganisms not listed below
(e.g., Achromobacter xylosoxidans and
Stenotrophomonas maltophilia) have been identified as research gaps and will be addressed by the Initiative. Read more about what we are doing for each microorganism, and visit the
Drug Development Pipeline to learn more about new therapies in development or already in use by patients.
research projects compose almost 40 percent of the infection research portfolio. A majority of the projects are directed at improving our understanding of how Pseudomonas interacts with other microorganisms and how the body responds to Pseudomonas infections. Since the launch of the initiative, two new drug development programs targeting Pseudomonas infection were funded, one of which uses bacteriophage to target Pseudomonas infections.
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Nontuberculous mycobacterium is an emerging pathogen that can be difficult to treat and has become more common recently in people with CF, infecting nearly 14 percent in 2019. The CF Foundation is supporting two large clinical studies to better understand
when to treat someone who cultures NTM and to standardize antibiotic treatment for people with NTM infections. In 2019, two new drug development programs, focused on identifying novel treatments for NTM, were funded.
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Multiple Organisms encompasses research that includes developing treatments that have the capacity to treat Pseudomonas and NTM (or others), and research into finding ways to treat pulmonary exacerbations that may not be linked to a specific microorganism.
The Foundation is expanding support for research projects specifically looking at the microbial mechanisms, including viruses, that drive exacerbations. The Microbion program aims to develop a novel antibiotic that has the potential to treat many
different CF infections.
The majority of the portfolio dedicated to Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) and methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) focuses on improving our understanding of how the body may respond to infections from these bacteria. The portfolio also includes research to optimize current treatments and develop new treatments, such as the ongoing Phase 3 clinical trial
for a new inhaled treatment for MRSA.
Infections caused by the 22 bacterial species known as Burkholderia cepacia complex are rare among people with CF, but severe, and there are few treatments available. Since the launch of the initiative, the Foundation has funded a drug discovery
program to screen for a compound that could be used to treat these infections.
Bacteriophage (Phage) Therapy
Although it is legal in some parts of Europe, phage therapy, which uses viruses to target difficult-to-treat bacteria, has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in the U.S. To date, phage therapy has been primarily used to
treat acute infections. Because CF infections are often chronic and microorganisms tend to colonize the CF lung, there are many unique challenges that must be overcome before phage therapy can be considered safe and effective for people with CF. Since
the launch of the IRI, the Foundation has funded two clinical studies in phage, including the first ever controlled clinical study of phage in people with CF that can start to help us answer the question of whether phage therapy is a safe and effective
way to treat CF infections, as well as several basic research studies.
Research centers on understanding how viral infections affect people with CF, including the role of viruses in CF exacerbations. Scientists are also investigating how viruses may interact with other microorganisms in the CF lung. Because the Foundation
recognized the need to address the unknowns of the global pandemic for the CF community, it launched a specific request for applications from the research community in 2020 to address how the novel coronavirus may impact people with CF. The goal is
to identify how people with CF may react differently or the same to the virus as those without CF by using cells in the lab to understand expected outcomes and improve future clinical care for those who contract the disease.
There is a tremendous need to understand when to treat and how to treat people with CF who culture fungi. The CF Foundation is funding more research to help us understand the risks and benefits of treatment when an individual has a positive fungal culture.
This is a very unsettled area of science, and workshops bringing together experts in the field are planned for fall 2020 and spring 2021 to help map out the key research questions to be addressed.
Stenotrophomonas maltophilia and other gram-negative bacteria
The Foundation is seeking to boost research efforts on other gram-negative bacteria, such as Achromobacter xylosoxidans and Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, as these were an identified area of need by the CF Community and the Infection Research
Steering Committee. Since the launch of the IRI, three new academic projects focused on understanding and treating Stenotrophomonas maltophilia have been initiated.
The Foundation will continue to seek and fund innovative science including both industry drug development programs and academic research. Companies should refer to the Therapeutics Development Award program for information on how to apply for funding. Researchers are encouraged to submit their best ideas to the Foundation’s funding mechanisms (e.g., Research and Research
Training Committee and Clinical Research Committee) to support the Infection Research Initiative. If you are a researcher looking for upcoming funding opportunities, please refer to the Funding Opportunities page, which is regularly updated.
We welcome community input to inform our future priorities. If you are a person with CF or if you have a family member with CF and would like to be involved in setting research priorities or reviewing proposals submitted by CF researchers, please sign up to participate in Community Voice. Numerous opportunities to provide your input on the Infection Research Initiative and other Foundation activities are offered throughout the year.
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1 Ramsey BW, Davies J, McElvaney NG, et al. A CFTR Potentiator in Patients with Cystic Fibrosis and the G551D Mutation. N Engl J Med 2011; 365:1663-1672. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1105185 Published Nov. 3 2011. Accessed Sept. 9, 2019. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1105185
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