Developing new antibiotics to manage chronic lung infection

Researchers at Queen’s University Belfast are leading a €50 million Europe-wide project to develop new inhaled drug treatments for cystic fibrosis and bronchiectasis.


The consortium, which comprises world-leading lung specialists from 20 organisations across eight European countries and includes industry partners Novartis and Basilea, will develop new ‘inhaled antibiotics’ to manage chronic lung infection. It is funded by the European Commission through the Innovative Medicines Initiative.

The programme will also establish the first European patient register for bronchiectasis, providing a unique platform to improve the quality of care for patients across Europe, as well as making it easier to develop and trial new drugs.

There are estimated to be around 39,000 people living with bronchiectasis or cystic fibrosis in the UK alone. The development of an effective treatment could save significant amounts of money for health services worldwide with each hospitalisation due to the bronchiectasis estimated to cost around £4,500.

The new antibiotics, which are to be trialled over a five year period, should help to improve patients’ quality of life by reducing lung infections and flare ups, improving lung function, and overcoming antibacterial resistance which frequently occurs in patients with these conditions.

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