CF Foundation Awards $23M to 11 Sites in its Research Development Program

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has awarded more than $23 million across 11 sites in its Research Development Program (RDP), a network of research centers that brings together top-notch scientists from different disciplines to apply their expertise to the challenges of treating cystic fibrosis. 

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The RDP has expanded its network to include new centers in Denver and Atlanta, home to the two largest CF care centers in the U.S.

The Colorado Research Development Program in Denver will receive $2.1 million during the next four years to support research focused on the diagnosis and treatment of nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) infections in CF. NTM infections are a problem for people with CF because they are difficult to diagnose and treat and can speed the decline of lung function.

The funding will help develop a National Reference Lab that will improve analysis of NTM samples and enable better tracking of potential outbreaks within and between care centers. The research grant  also will be used to examine why certain strains of NTM cause serious lung problems while others do not, according to Jerry Nick, M.D., director of the Colorado RDP and the Adult Cystic Fibrosis Program at National Jewish Health in Denver.

“It is essential we learn who will benefit from NTM treatment,” so doctors can avoid pursuing an aggressive and unnecessary course of antibiotic treatment, he said. Nick is also a professor of medicine at National Jewish Health and the University of Colorado Denver - two of the five institutions that make up the Colorado RDP.

A new RDP center also has been established in Atlanta. Emory University, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and Georgia Tech will receive $1.8 million over the next four years to establish the program, CF@LANTA RDP.

Researchers will focus on the underlying processes that lead to permanent lung damage during pulmonary exacerbations and the development of CF-related diabetes, the most common co-existing condition associated with CF. These findings eventually will be translated into new treatment strategies.  

"We have been working to build infrastructure funding for the CF program for many years," said Nael McCarty, Ph.D., Marcus Professor of Cystic Fibrosis at Emory University School of Medicine and principal investigator of the grant. "This is a very important success for Atlanta's CF research and clinical community."

In July, the CF Foundation also renewed four-year grants for nine programs in its RDP network. The grants generally fund shared resources, such as core facilities and support staff who perform imaging studies or cell/tissue culture for researchers to use in experiments.

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