Colorado Cystic Fibrosis Research & Development Program

Program Overview

The past three decades have been a time of tremendous progress in the treatment of CF. Improved strategies for airway clearance, nutrition, and management of P. aeruginosa, are now available, and continued advancements are expected. In addition, the modulation of CFTR protein synthesis and function is a reality for increasing numbers of patients. Together, these achievements have resulted in dramatic improvements in survival, but accompanying this success, clinicians and scientists are witnessing rapid changes in the microbial epidemiology of CF lung disease. It is becoming increasingly apparent that we are entering a new era in the fight against CF, one that is characterized by longer lifespans, milder disease, significantly less infection with P. aeruginosa, but a diverse array of previously uncommon airway pathogens. Among these emerging pathogens, the greatest morbidity and treatment burden is associated with nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM). NTM infection, which can cause progressive lung disease and sometimes rapid deterioration, has long been recognized as a particularly ominous co-morbidity of CF due to uncertainly in diagnosis, treatment with prolonged multi-drug treatment regimens, and unpredictable rates of response.

Colorado is home to the largest CF Care Center in the United States, as well as a broad-based and productive CF research community. We believe that going forward, one of the greatest unmet needs for CF patients and providers is an evidence-based approach to the diagnosis and treatment of NTM. Through the support of the CF Foundation, in July 2015 we established the “Colorado CF Research Development Program (RDP)” with a unifying scientific theme of “nontuberculous mycobacteria in cystic fibrosis”.


The goals of the Colorado RDP are to:

  1. Create an interdisciplinary RDP with a scientific focus on NTM.

  2. Provide core services that will offer state-of-the art identification of NTM species for CF Centers nationwide.

  3. Provide molecular fingerprinting and real-time surveillance in order to monitor potential transmission of NTM species within Centers and between U.S. Care Centers.

  4. Validate the use of protocols for diagnosis and treatment of NTM based on CFF/ECFS Guidelines.

  5. Expand CF NTM research by providing well-characterized isolates to qualified investigators nationwide.

  6. Provide trainees within the Colorado RDP with the professional and research skills to lead sustained and productive academic research careers in CF and NTM infections.