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New research initiative takes aim at cystic fibrosis


Toronto, ON – The Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CCFF) has launched a new $6-million research program called Breathe (Basic Research and Therapy). This ambitious research initiative will fund two teams of scientific and clinical investigators, chosen through a Canada-wide competition, over a five-year period. Both teams will target CF at the cellular level, through protein therapy.

“CF research is often focused on finding new treatments for the disease, whereas Breathe is unique because it targets the basic defect in cystic fibrosis,” says Cathleen Morrison, chief executive officer of the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. “By taking direct aim at the cause of CF, Breathe holds potential for greater improvements in the quality of life of children and adults with the disease.”

The Breathe research initiative will include the work of outstanding cystic fibrosis investigators. One team is being led by Dr John Hanrahan from McGill University, while Dr Christine Bear, from The Hospital for Sick Children, is leading the other team.

The Breathe research program has received strong backing from Canadian businesses, foundations, and families, as well as from government-funded agencies. In fact, the CCFF’s Breathe campaign has already raised more than 75% of its goal!

The Breathe initiative is also co-sponsored by the Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health, and the Institute of Infection and Immunity of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

“CIHR is pleased to be able to support such an innovative initiative that we believe could lead to a new understanding and new treatments for people with CF,” says Dr Alan Bernstein, president of CIHR. “Starting with the identification of the CF gene, Canada has a long tradition of excellence in CF research.”

The CCFF’s Celebrity Patron, Cline Dion, and her husband Ren Anglil were pleased to kick-off the campaign with its first gift. To date, they have contributed $750,000. The couple continually support the CF cause in memory of Cline’s niece, Karine, who died from CF at the age of 16.