Supporting events like the Saturday, May 5, Great Strides Walk of the Alabama Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation are crucial to UAB’s effort to treat the symptoms of CF and find a cure, says Eric Sorscher, M.D., director of UAB’s Gregory Fleming James Cystic Fibrosis Research Center.
“The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation funds a number of technologies and therapeutic interventions designed to help patients,” Sorscher says. “Resources for some of these projects would be difficult to obtain from other funding agencies. For example, early phase clinical trials require a huge investment underwritten by the CF Foundation Therapeutic Development Network. UAB plays a leadership role in this national organization.”
Sorscher notes that the commitment of the CF Foundation is making breakthroughs possible. “Screening of the millions of compounds necessary to identify a potential new agent for use in CF has been heavily supported in this fashion,” Sorscher says. “The many CF investigators on our campus working towards curing this serious disease have benefited from longstanding support by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.”
And real breakthroughs that correct fundamental problems in the CF gene may not be far away.
“An improved understanding of the CF gene and its functions in the cell have led to a large number of experimental strategies currently being tested as part of the therapeutic pipeline,” Sorscher says. “A number of these initiatives originated or were largely contributed to by CF researchers at UAB.”
UAB’s Cystic Fibrosis Research Center was the first to receive Research Development Program (RDP) funding from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. UAB received its first funds from the CF Foundation in 1981 — the same year the center was established—and has maintained continuous external funding since that time from the NIH and the CF Foundation. More than 50 researchers at UAB now devote a portion of their professional activities to studies of CF.