Cystic Fibrosis Researcher at WFIRM Earns Funding Support

Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine’s Sean Murphy, PhD, has been awarded three grants totaling almost a half million dollars to support cystic fibrosis research efforts.

Murphy, assistant professor, has received funding from the Lisa Dean Moseley Foundation in the amount of $249,958 and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics, Inc., (CFFT) in the amount of $108,000. The third award of $130,000 comes from the Gilead Sciences Research Scholars program that provides financial support to junior faculty researchers for a two-year period for innovative scientific research.

The Lisa Dean Moseley Foundation grant supports continued research related to an inflammatory perinatal stem cell therapy. Murphy’s co-investigator is graduate student Oula Khoury. Murphy’s research with perinatal stem cells, derived from perinatal tissues such as the amniotic fluid, placenta and placental membranes, has shown that they are an effective anti-inflammatory therapy for the treatment of lung disease. This previous work has culminated in a Phase I clinical trial evaluating perinatal cells for the treatment of bronchiopulmonary dysplasia, a lung condition, in pre-term infants. Murphy's current research aims to extend this therapy to patients with cystic fibrosis.

The CFFT award supports research into developing bioengineered miniature “lungs-on-a-chip” to provide improved research models to study cystic fibrosis, to identify and test new therapies, and improve current treatments by supporting personalized medicine approaches.