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The Children’s Hospital Foundation has pledged $2.5million over 5 years towards Queensland’s first dedicated cystic fibrosis research program to help improve outcomes for children living with the life-limiting condition.

The Queensland Cystic Fibrosis Research Program, announced today,  with  total funding of $15 million from the Children’s Hospital Foundation, The University of Queensland, US-based Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Department of Health Medical Research Future Fund and an anonymous donor.

UQ respiratory specialist Professor Peter D Sly said the program represented a new era in cystic fibrosis research.

“Despite improvements in general health, the CF community face significant issues such as premature loss of lung function, progressive lung disease and antibiotic resistance,” Professor Sly said.

“Respiratory failure is common and can lead to the need for lung transplantation or early death.

“Over recent years the prognosis for people with CF has improved with most sufferers reaching adulthood, but more research is needed to understand why lung function decline begins in childhood and continues unabated.

Children’s Hospital Foundation Chief Executive Officer Ms Rosie Simpson said the program presented an exciting opportunity to make a meaningful and enduring impact in the lives of children living with cystic fibrosis.

“Between 60 and 70 babies are diagnosed with cystic fibrosis in Australia every year, and about 450 children are treated for the disease at the Queensland Children’s Hospital annually,” Ms Simpson said.

“Previous research funded by the Children’s Hospital Foundation has contributed to the development of new therapies and treatments for children with cystic fibrosis, and while this has led to significant improvements in the health of kids with respiratory illnesses, there is still much more to be discovered.

“We’re proud to partner with UQ and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to fund this important work that strives to deliver improved health outcomes, better quality of life and longer life expectancy for cystic fibrosis patients in Queensland and right around the world.”

The program will focus on two new research projects, the Early Life Origins of CF lung disease (the ELO study), and the Mycobacterium abscessus (MABS) pulmonary disease program.

Queensland Children’s Hospital Paediatric Respiratory Physician Professor Claire Wainwright, and Professors Peter Sly and Scott Bell from the University of Queensland will lead the research team that will be carried out in partnership with Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service, the Metro North Hospital and Health Service and The Prince Charles Hospital.

This incredible research project is partly funded through the generosity of Geoff Carrick who kindly left the Children’s Hospital Foundation a gift in his will.  Geoff was a proud Queenslander who believed no child deserves to be sick.