The past three decades have been a time of tremendous progress in the treatment of CF, resulting in longer lifespans, milder disease, and significantly less infection with P. aeruginosa. However, the diagnosis and treatment of nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) has emerged as a significant challenge for both individuals with the disease and healthcare providers. NTM infection can in some individuals cause progressive lung disease and sometimes rapid deterioration. Although NTM is widely present in the environment, little is known concerning risks for acquisition, and there is growing concern that these infections can be indirectly transmitted between individuals with CF in the healthcare setting. NTM is increasingly recognized as a particularly ominous co-morbidity of CF due to uncertainly in diagnosis, the need for treatment with prolonged multi-drug antibiotic regimens, an unpredictable rates of response and a high rate of recurrence.
We believe that going forward, one of the greatest unmet needs for individuals with CF patients and CF 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:
Create an interdisciplinary RDP with a scientific focus on NTM.
Provide core services that will offer state-of-the art identification of NTM species for CF Centers nationwide.
Provide molecular "fingerprinting" and real-time surveillance in order to monitor potential transmission of NTM species within Centers and between U.S. Care Centers.
Validate the use of protocols for diagnosis and treatment of NTM based on CFF/ECFS Guidelines.
Expand CF NTM research by providing well-characterized isolates and genetic data to qualified investigators nationwide.
Provide trainees with the professional and research skills to lead sustained and productive academic research careers in CF and NTM infections.