The Brillance of Ingenuity

CFDRC awarded NIH grant on personalized therapy for Cystic Fibrosis

Huntsville, Ala. | November 10, 2016 – CFD Research Corporation was awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop a predictive model for personalized responses to cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR)-directed therapeutics.  The successful outcome of this project will lead to the development and commercialization of a personalized medicine platform for Cystic Fibrosis (CF) patients.

CF is a genetic lung disease caused by mutations of the Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane conductance Regulator (CFTR) gene that is critical to ion and fluid transport.  Excellent clinical responses for some individuals have led to the development of ivacaftor, a new CFTR-directed drug, but for the majority of patients, benefit has been much less substantial.  A predictive in vitro model which can be used to rapidly and accurately predict drug efficacy in the patient could dramatically improve the outcomes for and the lives of all CF patients.  It is critical that such a model faithfully reproduces in vivo conditions including the variety of specific mutations and complexity of multi-drug therapy.

CFDRC plans to develop a novel, in vitro personalized predictive tool utilizing a patient’s own cells to target the therapeutic strategy on an individualized basis and assess full physiological responses to CFTR-directed drugs.  This model will be developed on CFDRC’s commercially available SynVivo® family of cell based assays and will mimic the complex airway structure, including scale, morphology, and cellular interactions between the blood, the epithelium and the endothelium. The team will couple this with a novel, integrative assessment of CFTR function and airway physiology including mucus transport and clearance via micro-optical coherence tomography (microOCT) enabling biologically realistic studies.

CFDRC has partnered with Dr. Steven Rowe  and Dr. Jennifer Guimbellot at University of Alabama, Birmingham (UAB) who are pioneers in the field of personalized therapeutics for CF,  Southern Research Institute (SRI) and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) to bring together a multi-disciplinary, industry-academic partnership with expertise in all areas essential to the successful accomplishment of project goals including skilled investigators studying CF lung physiology, microfluidics cell-based assays, drug discovery and development, therapeutic screening and clinical studies.

“Developing personalized medicine applications of SynVivo is central to our strategy” says Kapil Pant, CFDRC vice president, “the end-product will be commercialized to pharmaceutical firms, drug research labs and universities/non-profit centers engaged in precision therapeutics, drug discovery, and drug delivery.”

About CFD Research Corporation: Since its inception in 1987, CFDRC has worked with government agencies, businesses and academia to provide innovative solutions within the Aerospace & Defense, Biomedical & Life Sciences, and Energy & Materials industries. Over the years CFDRC has earned multiple national awards for successful application and commercialization of innovative component/system technology prototypes, multi-physics simulation software and multi-disciplinary analyses. Learn more at

Richard Thoms
Manger, Technology Partnerships // 256.726.4810

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