Tuesday, June 9th, 2009
Two of Australia’s leading cystic fibrosis clinicians from The Prince Charles Hospital and The Mater Adult Hospital (both in Brisbane), announced two new research studies are underway aimed at improving the diagnosis and treatment of Pseudomonas bacteria - the leading cause of death among patients suffering cystic fibrosis.

Every four days a child is born with cystic fibrosis, a serious illness that mainly affects the lungs and digestive system. From diagnosis (often at birth) patients need constant medical care to survive including up to 5 hours of physiotherapy and up to 40 tablets daily.

For cystic fibrosis sufferers, a small cold can develop into a life threatening lung infection most commonly caused by the Pseudomonas bacteria. If the infection is severe, patients can undergo weeks of care in hospital to fight the bacteria that can lead to death.

These repeated chest infections damage the lungs meaning the older patients become, the harder it is to breathe. Without a cure for cystic fibrosis or the ability fight the Pseudomonas through accurately identifying the most appropriate antibiotic to treat it; in the long term, the only chance patients have of surviving is to have a lung transplant. Sadly, this is not always an option or a solution with many sufferers of cystic fibrosis not living into their teens and many not surviving past their 30th birthday.

Associate Professor Scott Bell, Director of the Adult Cystic Fibrosis Centre at The Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane, is the chief investigator in the only national research study to tackle the Pseudomonas bacteria.

The study, the largest of its kind to be conducted in Australia involving all major CF clinical and research centres, is coordinated by The Prince Charles Hospital Brisbane, Royal Children’s Hospital, Brisbane, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney and the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, this is a collaborative study conducted by a multidisciplinary team of researchers including CF clinicians, infection disease clinicians, microbiologists and scientists.

Although it is common in the environment (particularly near water and moist environs) it is rare to find the Pseudomonas infection in the majority of people. For cystic fibrosis patients, the Pseudomonas bacteria is the most common form of infection and is extremely difficult to treat. Even with powerful antibiotics the infection can and does result in death.

The study of the acquisition of Pseudomonas infection from environmental sources in young people with cystic fibrosis examines the bacteria, its natural environment and the environment of patients with CF. This includes environmental studies and molecular fingerprinting to make comparisons between patients and environments where Pseudomonas is present.

“By collecting and studying samples from all cystic fibrosis patients in the majority of cystic fibrosis centres, our aim is to gain a better understanding of Pseudomonas in CF patients so we can treat it more effectively and give patients a better quality of life through minimising infections,” said Associate Professor Scott Bell.

Dr David Serisier Director Adult Cystic Fibrosis Unit at the Mater Adult Hospital, Brisbane, heads a multi disciplinary team taking on Pseudomonas bacteria by developing a new sputum sensitivity test, and comparing it with the existing method of culture and sensitivity testing to better identify the most appropriate and effective antibiotics to treat the infection.

“Currently, there is no definitive sputum culture test that accurately identifies the best antibiotics to treat this bug in the cystic fibrosis lung. We need to accurately determine the most effective antibiotic to kill the bacteria and our aim is to conduct a robust evaluation of the existing scientific sputum culture test enabling us to create a new method of testing that predicts the response to antibiotics more accurately in cystic fibrosis patients.

This means that patients with cystic fibrosis will be able to remain as well as possible enabling them to enjoy life away from hospital – this is our overall goal,” Dr Serisier said.

“Please Help Us Find A Cure & Give Kids A Chance At Life”
“There are children and young adults in every state and territory of Australia who suffer this debilitating illness. There is no cure. Only with research developments and the help of the community, can we ensure every Australian living with cystic fibrosis can have the very best care until we can find the cure.”

Interview and photo opportunities include:
• Associate Professor Scott Bell, the Director of Adult Cystic Fibrosis Centre, Brisbane
• Dr David Serisier who heads the Adult Cystic Fibrosis Service at the Mater Adult Hospital, Brisbane
• Mr Terry Stewart – CEO – Cystic Fibrosis Australia
• Cystic fibrosis families from every region in all States and Territories across Australia
• CF State Organisation CEO’s

For more information and to arrange an interview please contact:
Insight Communications
P: 02 9319 3844
M: 0414 821 957
E: [email protected]

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Two leading Australian cystic fibrosis clinicians from The Prince Charles Hospital and The Mater Adult Hospital announced two new research studies are underway aimed at improving the diagnosis and treatment of Pseudomonas bacteria.


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