Bacterial infection deadly for cystic fibrosis patients - Institute for Respiratory Health

Bacterial infection deadly for cystic fibrosis patients

Tuesday, August 27, 2019 | Research

Through a partnership with Conquer Cystic Fibrosis, we have recently awarded funding to Dr Anna Tai who is part of the Cystic Fibrosis and Bronchiectisis Unit as well as a Respiratory Consultant for Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.

Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a genetic condition where there is an abnormality of the mucous glands, therefore causing a thickening of the mucus – this causes a build-up in the lungs and other organs creating blockage of the airways and impairing breathing.

Dr Anna Tai (left) with former staff

People with CF need to undergo constant treatment in order to remove the excess mucus from their lungs. The stress placed on the lungs results in irreversible damage and regular infections. 1 in 25 Australians carry the CF gene.

Dr Tai received the funding for a number of projects centred around clostridium difficile (C.diff) and the effects this has on cystic fibrosis (CF) patients, particularly patients in hospital.

C.diff is a bacteria that attacks the stomach and bowel and can have serious consequences for CF patients who are in hospital and have a low immune system

CF patients who have an intense hospitalisation and antibiotic treatment requirement are of particular risk, especially for patients who have undergone a transplant.

As little research has been carried out in Australia, Dr Tai aims to investigate:

  • How many CF patients present with C.diff when in hospital
  • The impact of antibiotic related diarrhea
  • The possible use of probiotics against C.dif.

The partnership between the Institute and Conquer Cystic Fibrosis allows funds raised by the volunteer-run charity to stay in WA.