Glasgow Warriors have welcomed the Cystic Fibrosis Trust as the third official charity partner that the club will support over the next two seasons.
Like Hearts and Balls and Yorkhill Children’s Foundation, the Cystic Fibrosis Trust will be assisted with player appearances, charity events and the opportunity to fundraise directly at matches and through the Warriors’ official website.
The Trust was nominated by Warriors staff as a cause that has personal resonance for them.
Cystic Fibrosis is one of the most common life-threatening inherited diseases in the UK. Over two million people in the British Isles carry the faulty gene that causes Cystic Fibrosis, and more than 9,000 sufferers are living with the condition.
Cystic Fibrosis affects the internal organs, especially the lungs and digestive system, by clogging them with thick sticky mucus. This makes it hard to breathe and digest food. Each week, five babies are born with Cystic Fibrosis and two young lives are lost to the condition. Only half of those living with Cystic Fibrosis are likely to live past their late 30s.
Much promising research has taken place in recent years with a view to dramatically improving the outlook for sufferers of the condition.
Since the identification of the gene that causes CF in 1989, significant time and money has been invested by the Cystic Fibrosis Trust to discover a way to correct the basic genetic defect or add a healthy copy of the faulty gene. The UK CF Gene Therapy Consortium based in London, Edinburgh and Oxford have developed a gene therapy product, which they are putting through tests for safety and efficacy before multi-dose clinical trials. This is the first time anywhere in the world that the CF gene therapy has been studied in this way.
Gene therapy aims to add a healthy copy of the faulty CF gene to the lung. The Cystic Fibrosis Trust has brought together 80 of the UK’s leading scientists and clinicians to drive this research forward through the UK Cystic Fibrosis Gene Therapy Consortium. The scientists have developed a product, which they plan to put into a one year multi-dose clinical trial.
It is estimated the product for the trial will cost at least £6.5m, and this is now the focus of the Trust’s fundraising drive.
Glasgow Warriors chief executive Kenny Baillie commented: “We’re privileged to be welcoming the Cystic Fibrosis Trust as our third official charity partner.
“The cause is close to the club’s heart, as we know the devastating effect that the condition can have. With the work being done on gene therapy, there is a real prospect of advances that could have genuinely life-changing implications for thousands of people.
“The aim of the partnership is to help in some small way to raise awareness, and ultimately funds, for this incredibly valuable project.”
June Ross, regional fundraising manager for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust in Scotland, said: “We are thrilled that Glasgow Warriors have chosen the Cystic Fibrosis Trust as an official charity partner.
“High-profile rugby clubs like the Warriors can really boost the public’s awareness about this life-threatening condition while providing the opportunity to fundraise and make a real difference to over 9,000 youngsters across the UK.
“The CF Trust relies on fantastic opportunities like this to carry on its vital research work to find a treatment or even a cure that would prevent two people a week dying from Cystic Fibrosis. We are very proud to be working with Glasgow Warriors.”
For more information on Cystic Fibrosis and the gene therapy project, please visit www.cftrust.org.uk.