miCF Research Centre
Welcome to the miCF Research Centre.
Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is the most common life-threatening genetic disorder affecting Australian children.
CF affects all parts of the body, but mainly damages the lungs and digestive system. Over time, the lungs become increasingly affected by inflammation and respiratory function is significantly reduced. There are a number of treatments available to reduce the problems caused by the condition, but average life expectancy is ultimately compromised. At present there is no cure.
Here at the Centre, and with your support, we have two main aims: to fast track research aimed at finding a cure, and to raise awareness of Cystic Fibrosis in the community.
miCF is staffed by a multidisciplinary team of clinicians, molecular biologists, genetic counsellors and nurses.
We do lots of research. We work with kids and families to conduct clinical trials. Take a look at Kids Research to read about current and in-process trials.
About Cystic Fibrosis
Cystic Fibrosis is an inherited disorder that causes severe damage to the lungs and digestive system. It affects the cells that produce mucus, sweat and digestive juices. These secreted fluids are normally thin. In people with cystic fibrosis, the secretions become thick and sticky, and instead of acting as a lubricant, the secretions plug up tubes, ducts and passageways.
In Cystic Fibrosis a defect, or mutation, in the CFTR gene changes a protein that regulates the movement of chloride out of cells. The result is thick, sticky mucus in the respiratory, digestive and reproductive systems, as well as increased salt in sweat.
Many different defects can occur in the CFTR gene. The type of gene mutation is associated with the severity of the condition and variety of symptoms, including:
- very salty-tasting skin
- persistent coughing, at times with phlegm
- Frequent lung infections including pneumonia or bronchitis
- wheezing or shortness of breath
- poor growth or weight gain in spite of a good appetite
- frequent greasy, bulky stools or difficulty with bowel movements
- male infertility
People with CF inherit two defective copies of the CFTR gene. If children inherit only one defective copy, they won't develop cystic but will be carriers.
Each time two CF carriers have a child, the chances are:
- 25 percent (1 in 4) the child will have CF
- 50 percent (1 in 2) the child will be a carrier but will not have CF
- 25 percent (1 in 4) the child will not be a carrier and will not have CF
Although people with Cystic Fibrosis require daily care, people with the condition are able to attend school and work and have a better quality of life than in previous decades. Improvements in screening and treatments mean most people with cystic fibrosis now live into their 30s, and some are living into their 40s and beyond.
While there has been significant progress in treating this disease, there is still no cure and too many lives are cut short.
That’s why we need research to discover and develop new CF treatments that target the disease from every angle. We conduct a wide range of innovative research programs to discover and develop new and effective Cystic Fibrosis therapies.
By harnessing the best minds in science and medicine, we continue to pursue every opportunity that could help people with the disease live longer and healthier lives.