New drug can successfully treat patients with Cystic Fibrosis

Joy Nderitu

St Vincents Hospital Cancer Brochure. Copyright Fennell Photography 2015

The majority of people with Cystic Fibrosis can be treated with a new drug called Trikafta, according to new research conducted by St.Vincent’s hospital in Dublin and Queen’s University Belfast

Cystic Fibrosis is a multi-organ condition that affects the lungs and digestive system. It prevents natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food. According to Cystic Fibrosis Ireland, Ireland has one of the highest rates of people living with the condition in the world.

There are approximately over 1,300 people currently living with it, 55 per cent of which are aged 18 and over.

The new drug Trikafta is believed to improve lung function, which will decrease the amount of hospitalisations.The majority of the trials for the new drug were held in Ireland, such as St.Vincent’s hospital.

Dr. Francis Collins, a researcher who discovered Cystic Fibrosis in 1989 said “This should be a cause for major celebration”  he wrote in an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Collins, who is the director of the National Institutes of Health believes that we are now in a place where this disease is becoming manageable, going on to say in a radio interview with NPR “ These drugs will need to be taken, but they have this remarkable ability to correct the protein that’s not doing its job, which is the problem in cystic fibrosis that we discovered 30 years ago”.

Ella Scanlon, who is living with Cystic Fibrosis believes that this is a step in the right direction as she describes growing up thinking “everything and anything was possible in life, which all came crumbling down as I realised that unfortunately that is not the reality of Cystic Fibrosis”.

She continued “A lot of people within the Cystic Fibrosis community think there needs to be more importance placed on getting new drugs as we are quite limited at the moment. I have been on multiple drugs such as Orkambi and Symkevi so I am optimistic about the new drug”.

However, this new drug which is a combination of three drugs, is set to benefit only 90 per cent of patients with Cystic Fibrosis. This therapy will allow patients to live normal lives without fear of what was once seen as a “chronic illness” live their life.

Joy Nderitu

Image Credit: Ireland East Hospital Group