University to lead on research into Cystic Fibrosis related syndrome

Scientists from around the world are being led by the University to look at new ways of dealing with digestive issues in people living with cystic fibrosis.

Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is an inherited genetic condition that affects over 10,500 people in the UK. Symptoms begin in childhood and slowly progress to destroy the lungs and digestive system. Half of people that die from cystic fibrosis are aged under 29

Distal intestinal obstructive syndrome (DIOS) is a common issue among people with cystic fibrosis, requiring hospital treatment and even surgery.

Strategic Research Centre

Leading charity, the Cystic Fibrosis Trust has launched a new Strategic Research Centre, led by Professor Shirazi-Beechey, from the University’s Institute of Integrative Biology, to find new treatments to prevent DIOS and related intestinal issues for people living with the condition.

Researchers from the academic and medical institutions in the UK, The Netherlands, Germany and  Israel will combine experience and expertise to find a way of preventing the cells lining the gut from removing as much water and sodium from the digested matter, in order to increase the amount of fluid left to help its flow through the body. To do this, they will use lab-grown mini-guts called ‘organoids’.

Exciting new techniques

Professor Shirazi-Beechey, the Principal Investigator, said: “I am very grateful to the  Cystic Fibrosis Trust for funding this project. We can’t wait to get started and see how we can apply some exciting new techniques to the issues affecting the digestive system of people with cystic fibrosis, which we know could make a big difference to their lives.”

Dr Paula Sommer, Head of Research at the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, said: “This project is special because at the end, researchers hope to run a clinical trial on the best treatment, meaning that we could make real progress in the fight to restore digestive comfort to everyone with cystic fibrosis.”

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