Radio interview: Dr. David Parsons and David Coluccio talk cystic fibrosis
To understand cystic fibrosis better, Ian asked about the disease, the research and Cure4CF. Cystic fibrosis is a complex disease which effects many parts of the body, according to Dr. Parsons "lung disease causes the most problems that lead to early death in those that suffer from cystic fibrosis".
Dr. Parsons and his team are addressing this issue by using gene therapy to allow proper function of the lungs, by replacing the faulty gene with a viable alternative. "A highly modified virus carries the corrected gene to the cells affected by cystic fibrosis and replaces them with working cells" explains Dr. Parsons. However, clinical trials in humans will be 5-10 years away. "Gene therapy is newer and less understood than pharmaceutical treatment, so while we hope to start human trials in adults within the next decade, implementing gene therapy in babies will take longer, to prove that its safe" commented Dr. Parsons.
Limited pharmaceutical alternatives have been developed to help a small percentage of those with cystic fibrosis. However gene therapy targets the source of the disease for a wide range of sufferers, rather than lessening the symptoms for those with specific types of genes.
While Dr. Parson's group is small, operates on moderate funds and competes with much larger groups world wide, they are "arguably the most advanced group in the world" according to David Coluccio, making a lifetime of difference to those with cystic fibrosis. On Wednesday the 5th of November Dr. Parsons will present on the global and local research effecting cystic fibrosis.
To listen to the interview, click below.