New Drug Approved for Cystic Fibrosis

A new inhaled antibiotic, Cayston®, recently received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. Cayston was developed in collaboration with Gilead Sciences, Inc., and is the first CF drug to advance — from beginning to end — through the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s drug development pipeline.

Cystic fibrosis is a complex disease that requires different therapies to treat a range of problems. Cayston provides an important alternative to existing antibiotics, and may mean a shortened daily treatment regimen for some CF patients.

Since the 1980s, the Foundation has played an integral role in the development of five essential drugs for the treatment of CF. Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs Preston W. Campbell, III, M.D., talks about the Foundation’s role and what this new drug means for CF patients.

What is Cayston?

Cayston is an inhaled form of the antibiotic aztreonam lysine developed by Gilead. Because chronic lung infections are a problem for those with cystic fibrosis, antibiotics are a vital part of CF care. Antibiotics help fight infections by attacking the bacteria that cause them.

However, as bacteria are exposed to antibiotics over time, they may develop resistance. As bacteria develop resistance, the number of antibiotics that are effective in killing the bacteria decreases. Cayston provides a much-needed antibiotic alternative for cystic fibrosis patients, who often develop resistance to existing antibiotics.

Cayston also shortens treatment time for CF patients. A typical CF treatment regimen of airway clearance, inhaled medications and pancreatic enzymes may take patients up to several hours per day to complete.

Cayston is administered with a new device called the Altera® Nebulizer System that allows patients to take the medicine in less than five minutes. This is up to four times faster than other nebulized antibiotics.

Where can I learn more about Cayston?

Patients interested in learning more about Cayston should consult their doctors.

A Cayston call center, 877-7CAYSTON (877-722-9786), launched by Gilead and a subsidiary of the CF Foundation, also is available to assist with insurance verification, co-pay costs, claims support and help for those without insurance.

The approval of Cayston is a significant milestone in the Foundation’s ongoing efforts to develop new treatments for CF. Currently, more than 30 potential treatments are in the CF Foundation’s drug development pipeline — any of which could have a profound impact on the disease.

The Foundation estimates that more than a dozen Phase 3 clinical trials will be completed by 2013 — a huge success that drives our continued optimism for finding a cure.

After her husband received a double-lung (bilateral) transplant in 2004, Shannon founded the Angel Cove Organ Donation Awareness Shop, which provides awareness t-shirts and gifts products for transplant recipients, living organ donors and donor families - giving 100% of the profits to help heart and lung transplant recipients with medical costs. Shannon lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her wonderful husband and two chocolate Labrador Retrievers.

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