Top 14 Cystic Fibrosis Stories of 2014

Patrícia Silva, PhD avatar

by Patrícia Silva, PhD |

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shutterstock_140687860As the year 2014 comes to a close, Cystic Fibrosis News Today — your reliable online source for the latest on cystic fibrosis treatments, events, clinical trials, and research updates — has outlined our “Top 14 Cystic Fibrosis Stories of 2014.” The following 14 stories were ranked according to the number of views they received over the course of the year.

No. 14 – “Researchers Find Sugar Agent Protects Cells Against CF Superbug Threat Pseudomonas Aeruginosa”

A team of research scientists at the University of Freiburg, Germany, the University of Geneva, and the University of Grenoble reported that they have succeeded in preventing infection from the hospital-acquired bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a pathogen particularly dangerous to persons with Cystic Fibrosis (CF), from entering host cells with the help of a sugar complex.

No. 13 – “Drug to Treat Pseudomonas Aeruginosa in CF Patients to be Presented at NACFC”

The battle against Pseudomonas Aeruginosa remained a popular topic in the CF community this year. In the 13th most read story, clinical stage biotechnology company GlycoMimetics, Inc. was profiled. GlycoMimetics develops drugs that mimic the molecular structure of carbohydrates involved in important biological processes which can treat Pseudomonas Aeruginosa.

No. 12 – “First Baby Born Healthy After Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis for CF in Ireland”

Efforts continue to be made in the science community to detect and avoid CF in utero — a controversial subject that the Cystic Fibrosis community typically follows with interest. Baby Bridget, born on June 27th, became the first baby conceived in Ireland using pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), a technique used to screen embryos for genetic mutations such as cystic fibrosis (CF).

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No. 11 – “Experimental Antibiotic-resistant Superbug Killer Could Be a Game-Changer for CF Patients”

While so-called “superbugs” are a threat to all people, they are particularly dangerous for CF patients, who rely of ongoing use of antibiotics to avoid bacterial lung infections. A new study from a team of researchers of the University of Pittsburgh Center for Vaccine Research (CVR), entitled “Engineered Cationic Antimicrobial Peptides (eCAPs) to Overcome Multidrug Resistance by ESKAPE Pathogens” demonstrated the effectiveness of new antibiotic agents as inhibitors of the growth of drug-resistant bacteria which could have an impact in the Cystic Fibrosis patient population.

SpirometryNo. 10 – “Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Peppermint Oil in Nebulizers Warning Well-Founded, But Teen Researcher’s Findings Merit Further Investigation”

One of the more contentious CF stories of the year came from a seemingly innocuous story about a school science experiment. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) posted an alert about a high schooler’s science experiment presented at the 2013 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, entitled “Pseudomonas A. Infections In The Cystic Fibrosis Lung: The Inhibition Of Bio-encapsulated Pathogens Within Simulated Cystic Fibrosis Conditions” in which the teen claimed that peppermint oil can kill a bacteria that frequently affects CF patients, without use of antibiotics. The findings from the study, as well as the CFF’s reaction, sparked debate and a viral spread of this story in the CF community.

No. 9 – “UNC Researchers Find New CF Drugs Unsuspectedly Counteract One Another’s Effectiveness”

CF patients are known for having to adhere to a large number of prescribed medications. Findings of a new study led by Martina Gentzsch, PhD, at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and the UNC Marsico Lung Institute in Chapel Hill, N.C.  demonstrated that a new CF drug counteracts the intended beneficial molecular effect of another CF drug.

No. 8 – “New Student-Developed Cystic Fibrosis App Makes Breathing Therapy a Game”

One of the main challenges for treating CF is ensuring that patients remain compliant with treatment. This can be a challenge, since breathing exercises can be boring and tedious. A 23-year-old engineering student at the University of Queensland, in Australia, was granted the Young Innovator of the Year award for creating an app for children suffering from cystic fibrosis.

No. 7 – “Children Born and Diagnosed With Cystic Fibrosis in 2010 Expected to Live Longer”

Prior to the second half of the 20th century, Cystic Fibrosis was a heartbreaking disease that killed most patients in infancy or early childhood. Thanks to breakthroughs is research and treatment, however, the meA study recently published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine showed that children who were born and diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis in the United States in 2010 are expected to live longer than those born earlier.

joan Rivers CFF

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No. 6 – “Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Loses a Friend”

In the wake of Robin Williams’ recent untimely death, the comedy world took another hit on Thursday, September 4th, when Melissa Rivers announced that she had made the unfortunate decision to take her comatose mother and international comic icon, Joan Rivers, off life support. While most people would remember her for her candor, one of the more remarkable facts about Joan Rivers is her philanthropy and advocacy for the country’s Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Since the 1980s, she has stood by the foundation as one of their National Celebrity Spokespersons, serving as an iconic and aggressive channel to spread awareness for CF. In fact, once when she was still co-hosting The Tonight Show, she invited the foundation’s Chairman, Frank Deford, to sit down and give a talk on national TV.

No. 5 – “Hormone-Based Birth Control Could Ease Cystic Fibrosis Lung Exacerbations in Female Patients”

Promising, protective treatments for Cystic Fibrosis can sometimes be developed from other drugs and therapies that are seemingly unrelated. New findings suggest that hormone-based birth control for women with CF could offer a therapeutic value for avoiding lung function issues which supports previous evidence associating female hormones in the development of recurrent infectious pulmonary exacerbations and the deterioration of lung function in a woman with cystic fibrosis.

No. 4 – “Teen With Cystic Fibrosis Inspires in OneRepublic’s New “I Lived” Video”

The healing power of music played a major role in CF news in 2014. A powerful music video from rock band OneRepublic brings Bryan Warnecke’s story to life, bringing to light his remarkable courage and personal drive to live life to the fullest in spite of having CF through the band’s hit song and video “I Lived.”

No. 3 – “A Treatment Suitable for Half of Cystic Fibrosis Patients?”

Vertex Pharmaceuticals’ Kalydeco was by far the biggest CF medication story of the year, offering new hope for treating the underlying causes of the disease. Positive test results for Vertex’s Phase 3 clinical trials of the drug suggesting that nearly 50% of the cystic fibrosis population could benefit from drew intense discussion and views of this story when it broke.

No. 2 – “New Combination Therapy May Treat 90% of All CF Patients”

While being able to treat 50% of CF patients was indeed promising, 90% was even more head-turning for the Cystic Fibrosis community. This article reported on new ways of treating cystic fibrosis that are under development at the University of Dundee. Along with colleagues in Italy, France, and Scotland, Dr. Anil Mehta, a clinical researcher at Dundee’s Medical Research Institute, pioneered a new drug combination that gives hope to patients with cystic fibrosis.

No. 1 – “Miami Dolphins Reportedly Exclude CF From Health Plan, Fire Scout For Working At Home To Care For Wife With Disease”

The most-read CF story of the year on Cystic Fibrosis News Today was a human interest story about how the expense of treating the disease may have led to discrimination in the workplace. According to a report from Fox Sports 1, a scout for the Miami Dolphins is considering a lawsuit for allegedly being fired as a result of telecommuting to work in order to care for his wife who has Cystic Fibrosis.

It was a great year for CF research, fundraising and building awareness worldwide. Subscribe to Cystic Fibrosis News Today and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to receive daily CF updates. May you and the entire CF community have a healthy and prosperous New Year ahead!