Pilot funding awarded by the BCCDC Foundation has enabled Dr Jennifer Gardy and her team to successfully apply for a larger peer-reviewed grant from the BC Lung Association.

The goal of their project, titled “Genomic Epidemiology of Non-Tuberculous Mycobacterial Infection in Cystic Fibrosis”, is to use DNA sequencing to develop a better understanding of how Cystic Fibrosis (CF) patients in British Columbia acquire both drug‐sensitive and drug‐resistant non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) infections.

CF is a life‐shortening genetic condition affecting over 4,000 Canadians. The NTMs are bacteria that can cause lung infections in patients with CF. About one in ten CF patients will have an NTM infection at least once in their lifetime. The impact of these infections on the health of CF patients is unpredictable, but they can cause lung damage and can prevent a patient from being a candidate for lung transplantation, a life‐saving treatment. Little is known about how these bacteria are acquired by people within British Columbia, even though the incidence of NTM infections is climbing.

Drs Gardy, Bradley Quon, Marc Romney, James Johnston and Mel Krajden have obtained $50,000 from the BC Lung Association’s Grants-in-Aid program to scale up the pilot study work and use whole genome sequencing to investigate a larger set of NTM isolates. With the new funding, they will be able to sequence both clinical and environmental isolates to explore the etiology of NTM infections in greater detail.

The Foundation is pleased to be able to support such great work and see our dollars leveraged into larger, important studies.

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