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Queen's helps trial new treatment to extend life of cystic fibrosis patients

A ground-breaking new drug combination that could prolong the lives of cystic fibrosis patients, has been trialled by researchers at Queen’s University Belfast.


Researchers from the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at Queen’s and the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust (BHSCT),were part of an international research team who showed that a combination of two drugs - Lumafactor and Ivacaftor – can improve lung function and reduce hospital treatments for cystic fibrosis sufferers.

The team carried out clinical trials in centres across the world with over 1,100 people who have the most common form of cystic fibrosis, F508del, a life limiting genetic disease which can affect the lungs, liver, pancreas and kidneys.

The results of the combination drug trial showed:

  • A reduction in the number of hospital courses of antibiotic treatment
  • An improvement in patient’s breathing tests
  • Improvements in patient’s weight and in quality of life

The combination treatment, which has been developed by Vertex, a pharmaceutical company based in Boston MA, is now undergoing assessment for approval and clinical use. Co-author of the research, Professor Stuart Elborn, from the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at Queen’s, said: “These results represent a further major advance in finding treatments which correct the basic problem in cystic fibrosis and improve the lives of patients living with the condition.

“This is the latest example of the commitment of researchers and staff at Queen’s and the BHSCT to advancing knowledge and achieving excellence for the benefit of everyone in society.”

The international research team who carried out the study involved scientists from the UK, Ireland, the United States, Australia, Italy, France and Canada.


Media inquiries to Andrew Kennedy, Queen’s Communications Office, on or 028 9097 5384