Image of Daniel Wozniak, PhDA team of researchers at The Ohio State University (OSU) College of Medicine and Nationwide Children’s Hospital recently was awarded a $2 million grant over four years to continue development of the Cure CF Columbus Research and Development Program (C3 RDP).

The program aims to study the relationship between immune system function and cystic fibrosis to develop treatments that will improve clinical outcomes for children and adults with CF. Approximately 30,000 people in the United States have CF, and the majority often catch life-threatening infections caused by a variety of viruses and bacteria. Despite improving therapies and a significant daily treatment burden, the majority of patients with CF die due to persistent lung infection, with a median survival age of 44 years.

“We know that the immune system responds to infections differently in children and adults with CF,” said Karen McCoy, MD, chief of Pulmonary Medicine at Nationwide Children’s and professor of Pediatrics at OSU College of Medicine. “Our studies are dedicated to bridging the gap between what we learn in the lab and what we see in the clinic. This additional grant funding serves as recognition and validation of the important work we’re doing.”

Ohio State and Nationwide Children’s teamed up in 2007 to establish a multi-disciplinary translational research team of microbiologists, biochemists, immunologists, cell biologists, pathologists and CF pulmonary clinicians. Since then, the team of 29 clinical and basic science investigators have been building a body of research geared toward changing outcomes for patients in the clinic. Research projects include, understanding aspects of the adaptive and innate immune systems and how immune dysfunctions related to CF lead to infection with microorganisms. The C3 RDP, through a robust collaboration and focus, will enhance quality and length of life for children and adults with CF in the area.

The C3 RDP is co-directed by Dr. McCoy, and Daniel Wozniak, PhD, professor of Microbiology and Microbial Infection and Immunity at OSU College of Medicine.

“To fully understand the complexity of the CF pathophysiology, there needs to be a better understanding of how cell types other than airway epithelial cells contribute to the disease,” said Dr. Wozniak. “C3 RDP is positioned to fundamentally change the current understanding of CF pathophysiology, particularly those aspects that are related to immune dysfunction in CF and its impact on infection.”