In January 2011, the UILO launched the Cystic Fibrosis Technology Initiative in partnership with The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) and Cystic Fibrosis Canada to advance early-stage technologies that show promise as potential therapeutics towards the goal of a cure or an effective control for cystic fibrosis.
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that primarily affects the lungs and the digestive system. Ultimately, most cystic fibrosis deaths are due to lung disease. One in every 3,600 children born in Canada has CF and one in 25 Canadians carries a defective version of the gene responsible for the disease. While comprehensive treatment programs have dramatically extended the lives of people with CF – half of all Canadians with CF are only expected to live into their 40s – there is no known cure.
The initiative, supported by a $750,000 grant from Cystic Fibrosis Canada, will assemble researchers and identify promising discoveries from across Canada to create new medicines for a disease that affects thousands of Canadians. Following an initial national request for proposals, two technologies were selected in July 2011 to undergo preclinical testing, based on recommendations by a highly qualified and independent scientific advisory committee, made up of specialized CF researchers, clinicians, and drug development experts. One project uses a new combination of antibiotics and chemical elements to target bacteria, while the other focuses on the cycle of inflammation and infection that damages the lungs of CF patients.
"We’re so excited about this new initiative," said Leona Pinsky, a volunteer from the Vancouver Chapter of Cystic Fibrosis Canada. "Since our daughter Rina was born 13 years ago, there has been ground-breaking work being done right here in British Columbia. We’re optimistic that this initiative will help Canadians with cystic fibrosis, like Rina, live a long, full life."
For more information contact UILO Associate Director, J.P. Heale.