The Foundation is funding the development of a wide range of treatments to address infections. In addition, researchers are exploring when to treat, how long to treat, and what medications to use.
One study that will provide insight into the length of antibiotic treatment is the STOP 2 trial. To learn more about this study, watch the following video in which Jennifer L. Taylor-Cousar, M.D., an associate professor in the departments of Medicine and Pediatrics at National Jewish Health, explains why infections are a problem for people in CF, and what is being done to improve treatment.
To address drug-resistant bacteria, the Foundation is supporting clinical research into unique treatments, such as gallium and nitric oxide, that work differently than typical antibiotics.
To grow, bacteria rely on some processes that require iron. If gallium -- an atom nearly identical to iron -- is used instead, it can disrupt these processes. For example, gallium has been shown to kill antibiotic-resistant strains of Pseudomonas in laboratory research. Intravenous (IV) gallium is being tested in clinical trials in people with CF, and an inhaled version is in development.
Inhaled nitric oxide is being tested in clinical trials as a treatment for Pseudomonas and NTM. Nitric oxide is a molecule produced by our bodies that kills bacteria, breaks up biofilms, and improves the movement of cilia -- hair-like structures that help move mucus out of the lungs.
Other potential treatments that are being tested include:
- New formulations and new uses of existing antibiotics
- Drugs that would prevent hearing loss caused by aminoglycosides -- commonly used antibiotics such as tobramycin and amikacin
The Foundation is investigating the development of up to three potential therapies that could prevent or reverse hearing loss from aminoglycosides. Two drugs would protect the inner ear from damage. One drug would activate cells in the inner ear to create new hair cells that are responsible for hearing.
The Foundation also is supporting research into fungal infections, especially those caused by Aspergillus fumigatus. This type of fungus can cause complications when it becomes invasive or when it causes an allergic reaction called allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA). For the past three years, the Foundation has been a major sponsor of Advances Against Aspergillosis, an international conference focusing on new discoveries about this fungus and improving its diagnosis and treatment.
Gina Hong, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, answers questions from the CF community about research into anti-fungal treatments.
In addition, the Foundation has provided funding to develop an inhaled version of itraconazole to treat ABPA. An inhaled version could have fewer side effects and drug-drug interactions than the high doses needed for oral itraconazole.
To learn more about drugs such as IV gallium and other anti-infective research, watch the Facebook Live event, What's the Bug? New Treatments to Help Fight Infections. The video, filmed at the 2017 North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference, features Drs. Patrick Flume and Christopher Goss.