Experts at Oxford are teaming up with leading figures from industry to advance development of a gene therapy for cystic fibrosis.
The UK Cystic Fibrosis Gene Therapy Consortium, of which the University is a member, will join with Boehringer Ingelheim and Oxford Biomedica to develop a new viral vector-based therapy.
The partnership builds on pioneering research carried out by the Consortium including clinical trials, which have shown encouraging results.
The UK Cystic Fibrosis Gene Therapy Consortium is a collaboration between Imperial College London and the Universities of Oxford and Edinburgh.
Cystic fibrosis is an inherited condition caused by mutations in a gene called CFTR. The disease causes thick, sticky mucus to build up in the airways and digestive tract.
People affected by the condition are more prone to lung diseases and have a significantly reduced life expectancy.
Gene therapy aims to fix the faulty gene by delivering a functioning version into a patient’s lung cells.
For the past 17 years, the Gene Therapy Consortium has been working to establish whether gene therapy can become a clinically viable option for patients with cystic fibrosis.
Under the new partnership, researchers will share their expertise to develop an inhaled treatment that can be taken forward into clinical trials.
It is hoped that this approach will help people with cystic fibrosis live longer and significantly improve their quality of life.
Researchers at Oxford, Professors Deborah Gill and Steve Hyde said: ’We have worked as part of the UK CF Gene Therapy Consortium for many years to develop a gene therapy for Cystic Fibrosis lung disease and we are now delighted to be collaborating with Oxford Biomedica and Boehringer Ingelheim. This joint endeavour is crucial to help us establish a clinically viable treatment for patients.’