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Research improves outcomes for cystic fibrosis patients

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Akron Children’s participates in numerous clinical trials aimed at improving the quality of life for CF patients.

For the fifth straight year, Akron Children’s cystic fibrosis center was awarded a research grant from Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics, Inc.

The nearly $80,000 grant will allow Dr. Greg Omlor and his research team to continue clinical trials this year for new and existing therapies. The goal of the research is to improve the quality of life for cystic fibrosis patients and, ultimately, help find a cure.

Dr. Greg Omlor

Dr. Greg Omlor

“Our ability to participate in as many studies and enroll as many patients as we can [is dependent upon this grant],” said Dr. Omlor, director of pulmonary medicine and the sleep center at Akron Children’s Hospital. “[It] not only provides monetary support for staff, but it also helps us improve our processes and increase the number of patients who are actively participating in research.”

In 2013, Akron Children’s increased the number of patients participating in CF studies by 19 percent. Most of the studies concentrated on medication that either treated the underlying causes of cystic fibrosis or treated infections caused by the disease.

While most of these studies are ongoing, Dr. Omlor points to one that was completed last year and that’s benefiting his patients today.

The study focused on how a common CF medication was administered.

In the past, the medication was inhaled via a nebulizer, and took about 20 minutes, twice a day. A new, dry powder form of the medicine, called Tobi, took much less time to administer, and was tested in these clinical trials and approved by the FDA last year.

Without treatment, the median age of survival for CF patients is about 2 years, Dr. Omlor said. The median age of survival with treatment is 38 years.

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