Nichols_David_220x180Dr. Dave Nichols, a pediatric pulmonologist, has focused his career on cystic fibrosis (CF). Before starting at Seattle Children’s in July of this year, he was division head of pediatric pulmonary medicine and co-director of translational research for the adult cystic fibrosis program at National Jewish Health in Denver, Colorado. As an attending physician, he provided care for adults with CF and pediatric patients with pulmonary diseases at National Jewish Health. 

Leading Clinical Trials in Cystic Fibrosis Research

Nichols is the principal investigator for a multicenter clinical trial testing the interaction between two antiobiotics – oral azithromycin and inhaled tobramycin – in adults and children 12 years and older. The trial is funded by the NIH and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The ongoing clinical trial extends from published findings that suggest that chronic oral azithromycin may antagonize the therapeutic benefits of inhaled tobramycin in patients with CF who have persistent Pseudomonas aeruginosa airway infection (see reference below). Inhaled tobramycin is a medicine developed by Drs. Bonnie Ramsey and Arnie Smith, well-known researchers at Seattle Children’s in cystic fibrosis and infectious diseases, respectively.

Becoming Familiar with Seattle Children’s Researchers 

The Therapeutics Development Network Coordinating Center (TDNCC) has played a pivotal role in developing and now conducting this study with Nichols. Through this productive collaboration, he became more acquainted with leaders of the TDNCC and Center for Clinical and Translational Research (CCTR), experiencing firsthand the “unparalleled expertise and support” developed within the Pediatric Clinical Research Center and Children’s Core for Biomedical Statistics. This ultimately led to the decision to join the faculty at Seattle Children’s Hospital, where he will continue to focus on CF care and research. 

Facilitating Translational Research 

Nichols’ research has centered on host-pathogen interactions, inflammation and clinical trials in cystic fibrosis. While he won’t maintain an independent laboratory in Seattle, he is excited about the collaborative research planned with several renowned investigators at Seattle Children’s and the University of Washington. Part of his focus will include efforts to improve specimen collection and coordination within CF clinical trials in support of translational studies. 

In his new role as medical director of the TDNCC, he will be working closely with Drs. Christopher Goss and Nicole Mayer Hamblett to oversee and support clinical trials related to CF, maintain the excellent medical monitoring services supporting numerous multicenter studies, consult with outside investigators and companies interested in CF research, and help train new investigators in the field. 

The TDN Coordinating Center and greater CCTR/Seattle Children’s Research Institute provide the infrastructural and intellectual support needed to successfully engage in high-level research. The experience and breadth of CF expertise in Seattle is remarkable, providing a terrific opportunity for me to both grow professionally and contribute to improving the lives of those with CF. I’m honored to be a part of this group and institution, and I look forward to many productive years ahead.

– Dave Nichols

He and his wife, an adult critical care pulmonologist, have settled into Queen Anne, where they are enjoying their neighborhood and proximity to downtown. New to the Pacific Northwest, they are enjoying all the opportunities to hike, camp and explore the coast.

For more information, see: Nick JA, Moskowitz SM, Chmiel JF, Forssén AV, Kim SH, Saavedra MT, Saiman L, Taylor-Cousar JL, and Nichols DP. Azithromycin may antagonize inhaled tobramycin when targeting Pseudomonas aeruginosa in cystic fibrosis. Annals of the American Thoracic Society. 2014;11(3):342-350. 

History of the TDN

In 1998, CCTR director and cystic fibrosis researcher Bonnie Ramsey, MD launched the Therapeutics Development Network (TDN), a national clinical trials network that is the largest CF clinical research network worldwide, with 80 clinical sites. The coordinating center for the TDN is based at Seattle Children’s Research Institute. The TDN coordinates and conducts clinical studies in cystic fibrosis, ranging from gene therapy to anti-inflammatory and anti-infective therapies. The TDN coordinating center’s more than 50 experts in biostatistics, clinical data management, clinical trial management, regulatory affairs and research pharmacy logistics provide clinical trial support to industry sponsors and investigators across the U.S.

– E. Kuwana