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New hope for Cystic Fibrosis patients with $10,000 donation to fund novel drug trial

To aid in critical research for the incurable disease Cystic Fibrosis (CF), The Lottery Office has pledged a $10,000 donation towards a promising new drug trial.

CF is an inherited disorder seen in approximately 20 infants per year in Victoria alone. It attacks patients’ lung and digestive systems through an abnormality in mucus secretion, which makes them highly susceptible to potentially fatal bacterial lung infections.

Over time, these infections deteriorate lung function and severely impact the lives of Cystic Fibrosis patients. Unfortunately, many of these infections are resistant to antibiotics so Australian researchers have been working to develop alternative treatments.

Professor Marc Pellegrini is the Joint Division Head of Infectious Diseases and Immune Defence at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) in Victoria. For more than a decade, he and his team have worked to discover new ways to eradicate persistent infections in people living with CF.

Professor Pellegrini and his team have successfully developed drugs capable of killing cells infected with the common bacteria B cepacia and are now planning to investigate another CF related bacterial infection, Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Professor Pellegrini said the Pseudomonas bacterial infection is the most prevalent in CF patients.

Pseudomonas bacteria is the most common bacterial infection seen in CF patients and the unique way in which the bacteria attack the cell makes it incredibly complex to treat,” Professor Pellegrini said.

“Our latest research focuses on using a new drug and antibiotic combination to clear pseudomonal lung infections, which could transform how we treat this common infection and increase the recovery success rate.

“The findings of this program will help to drastically improve quality of life for CF patients and hopefully avoid potentially fatal infections.”

The Lottery Office CEO Jaclyn Wood said that due to the limited funding for charities during the pandemic it was important to direct funds towards vital research.

“Our donation will support the use of a preclinical model that will allow necessary experiments to be conducted to test the efficacy of this novel drug,” Ms Wood said.

“Professor Pellegrini and his team have already seen incredible success with their work into treatment for the B cepacia– bacteria and we have no doubt this new trial will see similar results.”

The Lottery Office donates a percentage of the cost of every ticket sold to charities across the country, allowing the organisation to make a positive impact on the lives of everyday Australians.

The Lottery Office urges anyone interested in donating to visit the Cure4 Cystic Fibrosis website.