Cystic fibrosis is a rare, hereditary disease which affects about 70,000 people worldwide. Although its origins can be traced back as far as 3000BC, no cure has been found as of yet. Put simply, CF is a condition which causes sweat, digestive fluid and mucus to become abnormally thickened. But the effects of this seemingly minor change have a devastating impact on a patient’s daily life.
Perhaps the most well-known symptom of CF is respiratory difficulty. Breathing with cystic fibrosis is sometimes likened to breathing through a thin straw 24/7. Patients with cystic fibrosis are prone to frequent chest infections, resulting in constant production of extremely thick and sticky mucous which is hard to shift by coughing. If this doesn’t sound bad enough, prolonged coughing fits cause inflammation to the lungs, causing more mucous to be produced, and so on and so on. One of the body’s most basic and automatic functions becomes a never-ending vicious cycle. It is hardly surprising that 80% of deaths associated with Cystic Fibrosis are caused by breathing difficulties.
But that isn’t where the nightmare ends. Changes to the consistency of digestive fluids means that the body can’t effectively absorb nutrients from food, resulting in malnutrition. Children with Cystic Fibrosis may grow or gain weight at a slower rate than their peers – often, this is the factor which leads to the illness being diagnosed. In later life, malnutrition can lead to yet more complications including osteoporosis, diabetes and infertility.
The good news is that treatment for Cystic Fibrosis is improving all the time. 70 years ago, most patients died in infancy before the age of 1. The life expectancy of a Cystic Fibrosis patient born now is upwards of 50. But there’s still lots of work to be done to increase this figure and ensure that patients have quality of life for as long as possible.
We are testing a potential new treatment for Cystic Fibrosis in our Leeds clinic, and about 120 healthy volunteers are needed to help us complete our investigations. A new medicine is under development which could potentially correct the genetic mutation which causes Cystic Fibrosis, but before this is given to CF patients, we’re aiming to answer questions like –
- What is the ideal dosage?
- Will this work best as a pill, an oral solution or an IV injection?
- Will this treatment complement or counteract existing CF treatments?
- How long does it take for the medicine to break down in the body?
Because we’re aiming to answer all of these questions, the clinical trial is split into a number of groups, with various start dates and length of commitment. We’re currently recruiting men and post-menopausal or surgically sterile women aged 18 – 60 for an 18 night stay and one outpatient visit, paying from £100 per day. As we continue to answer the important questions about this medication we will be adding more groups, so if you would like to play a role in the fight against Cystic Fibrosis, keep a close eye on our current studies, and apply for any group with the study number 8349680.