Irish-led project has potential to revolutionise cystic fibrosis treatment

New €6m project to design personal antibiotic prescription

Cystic fibrosis affects more than 70,000 people worldwide.

Cystic fibrosis affects more than 70,000 people worldwide.

Fri, Sep 13, 2013, 01:00

An Irish-led international consortium of experts has started a major project to develop personalised antibiotic treatment for cystic fibrosis patients during respiratory infections.

Cystic fibrosis affects more than 70,000 people worldwide, with some 90 per cent dying prematurely from respiratory infections caused by a multitude of infective and potentially resistant microorganisms.

The CF Matters (Cystic Fibrosis Microbiome-determined Antibiotic Therapy Trial in Exacerbations: Results Stratified) project will receive €6 million in funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme.

Personalised treatment
The study will pave the way for more effective therapeutic regimes and ultimately contribute to the development of personalised CF treatment tailored to individual patients.

Dr Barry Plant, project co-ordinator and director of the adult CF centre at Cork University Hospital, said this approach also has the potential to revolutionise the practice of antibiotic prescription in other acute and chronic infections.

“Antibiotic resistance is one of the most significant challenges facing the EU healthcare system owing to unnecessary and inappropriate use of antibiotics.

“Personalised antibiotic treatment using next-generation technology such as that employed by the CF Matters project could limit the development of antimicrobial resistance globally by only prescribing those antibiotics that are necessary for an individual patient.”

The CF Matters consortium brings together a diverse international group of renowned CF experts from both academic institutions and hospitals across Europe and the US.

Dr Plant said a personalised approach to antibiotic treatment would enhance individual patient responses and decrease drug resistance by employing next-generation technologies.

Philip Watt, chief executive of the Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland, said this was an opportunity for Ireland to become a world leader in CF care and drug resistance.