University of Dundee

CFMATTERS – Cystic Fibrosis research receives €6 million EU research award

17 Sep 2013

Dr. Robert Ryan, Division of Molecular Microbiology, has just been awarded EU-funds to support a major collaboration project focused on the development and trial of personalised antibiotic treatment for patients with Cystic Fibrosis during respiratory infections. CFMATTERS, an acronym for ‘Cystic Fibrosis Microbiome-determined Antibiotic Therapy Trial in Exacerbations: Results Stratified’, will received approximately €6 million (£0.9 million to UoD) in funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme.

The CFMATTERS consortium brings together a diverse international group of renowned CF experts from both academic institutions/hospitals from across Europe and the United States of America. CFMATTERS partners include: University College Cork (Ireland), Queen’s University of Belfast and the University of Dundee (United Kingdom), the Université Paris Descartes and Assistance Publique – Hôpitaux de Paris (France), Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg (Germany), and the University of Washington in Seattle (USA).

Cystic Fibrosis affects over 70,000 people worldwide with over 90% dying prematurely from respiratory infections which have overlapping chronic and acute bacterial components caused by a multitude of infective and potentially resistant microorganisms. CFMATTERS will evaluate the potential benefits of a multi-center clinical trial using next-generation DNA sequencing of the bacteria in patient mucus samples compared to current culture media protocols, to guide antibiotic treatment of Cystic Fibrosis patients.  This personalised, microbiome-derived antibiotic treatment will be evaluated by recording the speed of patient recovery and the length of time elapsed before the next infection.

In parallel, scientists will also analyse the genetic makeup or microbiome of the resident microflora in the mucus and gut, and their interaction with the host. Cell and murine models of Cystic Fibrosis disease will also be used.  Collectively, these studies will pave the way for more effective therapeutic regimes and ultimately contribute to the development of personalised Cystic Fibrosis treatment. This approach may potentially revolutionise the practice of antibiotic prescription in other acute and chronic infections also. Antibiotic resistance is one of the most significant challenges facing the EU health care system owing to unnecessary and inappropriate use of antibiotics. Personalised antibiotic treatment using next generation technology such as that employed by the CFMATTERS project could limit the development of antimicrobial resistance globally, by only prescribing those antibiotics that are necessary for an individual patient using.