Find Cures and Educate Clinicians and Researchers
- Develop new cures through a sustained commitment to innovative research.
- Ensure every child has the opportunity to benefit from research.
- Accelerate discovery, education and sharing of our expertise globally.
- Enhance our training of new clinicians and our continuing medical education.
Changing Lives Through Research and Education
Dr. Bonnie Ramsey has treated Brianna Strand, below, since the age of 3.
When Brianna Strand was 3 years old, she was very sick. No one could figure out why until she came to Children’s. Within minutes of walking into the room, Dr. Bonnie Ramsey knew Brianna had cystic fibrosis (CF).
That was nearly 20 years ago. Today, Brianna is a newlywed pursuing her dream to become a veterinarian, thanks to improved treatments for CF – including important advances made by Ramsey and other researchers at Children’s.
Their work has helped double the life expectancy for CF patients with breakthroughs like TOBI, an inhalable form of the antibiotic tobramycin.
“Being cared for by doctors who are world leaders in studying and treating cystic fibrosis was the answer to our family’s prayers,” Strand says.
Now, another one of Brianna’s doctors who trained with Ramsey at Children’s, Dr. Luke Hoffman, is on the trail of yet another possible breakthrough. His research into how different bacteria interact could produce a remedy for the chronic infections that over time cause permanent – and life-threatening – damage to the lungs of CF patients like Strand.
Today, Dr. Luke Hoffman focuses on the cures of tomorrow.
Most research has focused on studying individual bacterium in isolation even though many combinations of bacteria inhabit the lungs of CF patients. Hoffman decided to study how two of those bacteria – Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus – behave together when grown in the lab.
Hoffman discovered that Pseudomonas produces a compound that causes Staphylococcus (a.k.a. staph) to grow more slowly, making it difficult to detect. The compound also makes staph highly resistant to the antibiotic tobramycin. Based on those findings, Hoffman is leading three additional studies to learn more about how communities of bacteria behave in the lungs of people with chronic infections.
“The defining characteristic of chronic lung infections is their persistence, despite antibiotic treatment,” says Hoffman. “In many cases, we don’t understand why we can’t cure them. Our hope is that learning more about how bacteria interact and respond to antibiotics holds the key to providing more effective treatment.”