are no standardised recommendations in place for screening for hearing loss within the adult CF population and current audiology tests require specialist staff and equipment and further outpatient visits.
Dr Shah’s multi-centre study will investigate whether a novel iPad-based audiology app and a web-based app developed in collaboration with the Imperial College Dyson School of Audio Engineering are able to reliably screen for hearing loss in adults with cystic fibrosis. The study will also determine the incidence and significance of certain genetic mutations in patients with CF to see if there is any genetic predisposition to hearing loss.
Dr Shah has also received funding from Gilead Sciences via the Gilead UK & Ireland Fellowship Programme for which he received the maximum award of £30,000 along with a further £30,000 from the NHS Darzi Fellowship in Clinical Leadership award. The funding from these two awards will support analysis of the effect of antifungal drug resistance for Aspergillus fumigatus in patients with CF.
Aspergillus fumigatus (A. fumigatus) is a type of mould that can cause several complications and diseases in patients with CF. Azole antifungal therapy is the only currently available oral treatment option, but recent studies and preliminary data in our centre have shown increasing rates of antimicrobial resistance.
For his study, Dr Shah will be comprehensively characterising the prevalence of azole resistance in adult CF patients and determining risk factors for resistance acquisition and the effects on mortality and lung function decline. Results from the study will enable a greater understanding of the effects of azole resistant A. fumigatus infection in this population as well as inform future decision making regarding antifungal prescribing and therapeutic drug monitoring.
Dr Shah commented: “Hearing impairment is an underappreciated problem in adult CF. Our study will look to see whether novel technology can bridge the difficulty in performing regular accurate hearing tests in this population and identify problems at an early stage. Likewise antifungal resistance is an emerging global issue and our preliminary data have shown increased rates in adults with CF. Our study will hopefully shed some light on the implication of antifungal resistance in this population and inform future treatment strategies.”
Dr Jenny Rivers, associate director for research, said: “Dr Shah’s success at an early stage of his clinical academic research career is outstanding and demonstrates his potential as a future research leader. The funding secured from these awards will provide a solid platform for him to develop his research programme, diversifying and strengthening the already world-leading multi-disciplinary research team across both adult and paediatric CF.”
If you would like to find out more about any of the research mentioned in this story, or any other research at the Trust, please email us.