Having a child with cystic fibrosis may make some parents feel helpless, but not Dr Nigel Farrow, a leading scientist who was inspired to become a cystic fibrosis researcher after his daughter was diagnosed with the disease.

Originally a musician, Dr Farrow was motivated to complete three degrees in eight years and gain a PhD in medicine following his daughter’s diagnosis. He has spent the past 10 years working closely with the Women’s & Children’s Hospital Foundation (WCHF), which has funded several cystic fibrosis research projects.

Dr Farrow is now leading an Australian-first research project within the area of gene therapy and stem cell work in paediatric patients.

The Lott is proud to help fund ground-breaking research into paediatric cystic fibrosis through the $50,000 donation we made to the WCHF in November 2020. 

In 2010, the WCHF invested $2.6 million to set up The Breathing Space, an onsite respiratory research laboratory. Since then, the Foundation has continued to fund various research projects to treat and prevent cystic fibrosis lung disease.

Thanks to research, the average survival age of someone with cystic fibrosis has grown from early teens to their 40s. 

Dr Nigel Farrow explained people with cystic fibrosis had a limited life span and reduced quality of life due to airway disease. 

“A cure for this airway disease would dramatically improve both the lifespan and quality of life for these patients,” he explained.

“Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease, which means my focus has been on developing a gene therapy that would replace the faulty gene and correct the disorder.

“Through my past research projects, I have identified two potential ways of dealing with the faulty genes, and with funding, we can move forward to develop this treatment with the firm aim of curing the airway disease associated with cystic fibrosis. 

“Without the support of the WCHF, this research would not have reached the ground-breaking milestones, which are at the forefront of this field of research worldwide.”

As well as supporting cystic fibrosis patients through Australian-first research, the WCHF is also funding vital equipment to help patients manage their disease. On average, cystic fibrosis patients are admitted to the hospital four times a year, increasing the risk of exposing themselves to other infections. 

During the initial COVID outbreak, the Foundation funded vital equipment, through its Home Equipment Centre, so patients could be treated at home. Find out more about the Home Equipment Centre and The Lott’s involvement here. 

To find out more about the Women’s & Children’s Hospital Foundation and the amazing work it does supporting seriously ill children and families in South Australia, visit its website or check out the video below.