View all news

Advances in understanding cystic fibrosis recognised with award

Dr David Sheppard, Physiology & Pharmacology

Dr David Sheppard, Physiology & Pharmacology

30 June 2010

For more than 80,000 people worldwide cystic fibrosis (CF) is a debilitating disease for which there remains no cure. But the work of a European-wide network of scientists and clinicians, led by Dr David Sheppard from the University of Bristol, has made significant advances in patient care and therapy development.

Dr Sheppard, from the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, has been studying the genetic defects that cause CF for almost 20 years.  His work with the EuroCareCF project, a collaborative forum for groups from across Europe working to improve the survival and quality of life for CF patients, has now been recognised with the 2010 European Cystic Fibrosis Society Award.  Dr. Sheppard shares this award with Prof. Margarida Amaral (University of Lisboa) in recognition of their efforts to coordinate the activities of scientists, clinicians and healthcare professionals in Europe working to defeat the disease.

Funded by the European Commission, EuroCareCF brought together some 20 institutions, to explore issues such as patient care, clinical research, animal models and novel approaches to therapy.  A key achievement of the project has been to establish a European registry of 30,000 patients, enabling an analysis of patient outcomes and providing a database of patients suitable for clinical trials.

As a result of the project, a series of best practice guidelines will be published later this year and made available to the CF community.  These guidelines make recommendations for the diagnosis of CF and related diseases, the care of CF patients, the performance of clinical trials and the development of new therapies based on understanding how genetic defects cause CF.

Dr Sheppard said: “A good network had already been developed through previous European Commission-funded projects among the scientific community.  The EuroCareCF project went one step further and brought scientists together with clinicians and healthcare professionals.  Caring for patients with CF is a multidisciplinary team effort; everybody involved in the project deserves to share the credit of its success.” 

Vital to the success of the project was close collaboration with project stakeholders including the European Cystic Fibrosis Society, national CF associations in Europe and North America, CF Europe and CF Worldwide.

The 2010 European Cystic Fibrosis Society Award to Prof. Amaral and Dr. Sheppard recognises their huge contribution towards a European approach to CF, the testimony being the overwhelming success of the EuroCareCF project.

Edit this page