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. They are especially interested in how best to use antibiotics so they are most effective.
One study that will provide insight into the length of antibiotic treatment is the STOP 2 trial. The study is looking at the safety and effectiveness of three different lengths of IV antibiotic treatment for pulmonary exacerbations in people with CF. A STOP 3 trial is being planned to test whether it is better to treat a pulmonary exacerbation with one IV antibiotic or two IV antibiotics.
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 and an inhaled version are being tested in clinical trials in people with CF.
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
- A drug that would protect the inner ear and prevent hearing loss caused by aminoglycosides — commonly used antibiotics such as tobramycin and amikacin
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). A large-scale study into Aspergillus infections is being planned.
To learn more about key infection research priorities including NTM, Aspergillus, and phage therapy, watch the webinar, “Research Overview: Infections.” The webinar, hosted on Aug. 25, 2020, brought together research experts and members of the Infection Research Initiative Steering Committee to discuss the latest updates in infection research.