A group led by Professor Jane Davies of Imperial College London, an honorary consultant at the Royal Brompton Hospital, has been awarded a grant of £750K by the Cystic Fibrosis Trust in the first of its new Strategic Research Centre (SRC) funding rounds. The purpose of these grants is to establish multi-disciplinary groups around a specific problem, bring in expertise from other disease areas and train junior scientists and clinicians to inspire an interest in CF research.
Royal Brompton has the largest CF clinic in Europe, caring for patients from the newborn period into adulthood. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the commonest serious respiratory infection, chronic infection contributing to the irreversible lung damage which leads ultimately to respiratory failure.
Opening in Feb 2015 with the appointment of five postgraduate degree students, the SRC seeks to address three major challenges posed by Pseudomonas aeruginosa:
- Finding new, non-invasive ways to detect pseudomonal infection by harnessing advances in technology, for example mass spectrometry analysis of exhaled breath
- Understanding how Pseudomonas adapts to the lungs and becomes chronic, which may allow the identification of high-risk patients and new disease targets
- Testing new, non-antibiotic forms of therapy: chronic pseudomonas protects itself by forming 'biofilm' structures and this SRC will investigate molecules known to breakdown these biofilms in collaboration with Southampton University. We will also work on a programme of translational research with AmpliPhi, a biotech company developing bacteriophage therapy against this and other bacterial infections.
Lead Principal Investigator: Prof Jane Davies (Imperial College London)
Co-Principal Investigators: Dr Peter Sterk (University of Amsterdam), Professor Paolo Montuschi (Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Rome), Professor Paul Freemont (Imperial College London), Dr Zoltan Takats (Imperial College London), Professor Alain Filloux (Imperial College London), Dr Huw Williams (Imperial College London), Dr Jake Bundy (Imperial College London), Sandra Morales (Special Phage Services, Australia) and Gary Connett (University of Southampton)
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