Working in partnership to tackle antimicrobial resistance in cystic fibrosis

To mark World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, we want to highlight the work we’re doing with the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, working in partnership to tackle antimicrobial resistance in cystic fibrosis through the CF Syndicate in AMR.

The CF Syndicate in AMR drives focused, collaborative efforts to accelerate the discovery and translation to the clinic of new treatments for CF infections. Our aim is to address the key challenges in the discovery of CF antimicrobials, to ultimately enable a pipeline of new treatments reaching the clinic and people with CF, faster.

Five ways in which the CF Syndicate in AMR is enabling the development of new antimicrobials for people with CF  

Cross-sector collaborations

When we joined forces with the Cystic Fibrosis Trust to form the CF Syndicate in AMR, we brought industry leaders and people affected by CF together with academics with expertise in CF and pulmonary infection.

The collective, cross-sector expertise of the organisations involved in the CF Syndicate in AMR underpins its research activities.

To find out more about CF antimicrobial drug discovery and our work, watch an interview with Dr Deborah O’Neil, Chair of the Steering Committee for the CF Syndicate in AMR, who recently was awarded an OBE for her services to services to biotechnology, business and charity.

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A different way of thinking  

The development of medicines to tackle AMR in CF requires an understanding of the disease and a tailored approach, as CF infections present unique challenges. These challenges include the fact that bacteria and other pathogens colonise the lungs of people with CF chronically leading to biofilm formation which makes penetration of drugs difficult, and also leading to their evolution over time, allowing them to adapt to the environment within the lung.

By bringing together a critical mass of experts from different disciplines and sectors, the CF Syndicate in AMR is developing innovative approaches to address these challenges.

For example, to support industry to navigate this complex therapeutic area, the CF Syndicate in AMR is driving the development of patient-focused Target Product Profiles (TPPs). Developed with people with CF around their needs and priorities, these TPPs outline the key requirements new antimicrobials should meet to be effective and impactful. The TPPs will provide valuable guidance to industry and ensure that research focuses on what matters most to the people living with the disease.

Building a repository of biosamples

Access to clinically relevant CF samples is essential for the preclinical screening and testing of new antimicrobial therapies before they can be tested in the clinic; however, finding and accessing these samples remains a challenge for the CF research community, especially industry.

To streamline and enable access to CF samples, the CF Syndicate in AMR is working with the CF community to explore an approach to support the collection and sharing of relevant samples by setting up a CF AMR Biorepository.

Read more in the article about the work from Professor Jane Davies, a member of the CF Syndicate in AMR’s Steering Committee. It elaborates on how CF samples such as bacterial strains isolated from the lungs of people with CF can be used for research.

Smoothing the path for new antimicrobials to the clinic  

Since launching in September 2019, the CF Syndicate in AMR has engaged with the UK CF infection research community in academia and industry to understand the challenges in the discovery and translation of novel antimicrobials to the clinic to treat infections associated with CF. One key challenge identified is that there is no agreed preclinical screening and testing pathway for CF antimicrobials.

To address this, the Syndicate is supporting the CF community to map and validate the preclinical screening and testing pathways to provide faster routes to bring CF antimicrobials to the clinic and develop guidance for drug developers.

This guidance will help researchers like Professor Andres Floto, who sits on the CF Syndicate in AMR steering committee, to accelerate their research and ensure new treatments reach people with CF faster. Read more about Professor Andres Floto’s work on developing treatments for infections in CF.

Working alongside the CF community 

Involving people with CF is a cornerstone of the CF Syndicate in AMR’s strategy. To ensure the needs and priorities of people with CF are at the heart of everything we do, people with CF play a key role in designing, planning and supporting the Syndicate’s activities.

Find out more about the CF Syndicate in AMR in this interview, where Candice King, who has CF, spoke to MDC and the Cystic Fibrosis Trust to find out what the Syndicate has achieved so far.

You can find out more about the work of the CF AMR Syndicate and the CF Trust in their latest blog.