CARSTAR Funds Patient Participation In The Cystic Fibrosis Individualized Therapy Research Biobank

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CARSTAR, a part of the Driven Brands, Inc., is North America’s largest Multi-Shop Operator Network of independently owned collision repair facilities with more than 550 locations in 34 states and 10 Canadian provinces.

This June, CARSTAR raised thousands of dollars for research and treatment for cystic fibrosis (CF). CARSTAR is providing air travel and accommodations for people participating in the Cystic Fibrosis Individualized Therapy (CFIT) research study at Toronto SickKids Hospital.

Through a variety of fundraising initiatives, CARSTAR, its franchisees, partners and employees have raised over $3 million for CF Canada, and has made fighting CF its cause, North American wide.

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CF is a genetic disorder primarily caused by mutations in both copies of the gene for cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR). CF mostly effects the lungs, but also the pancreas, liver, kidneys. Patients have persistent problems with mucus cough and have difficulties breathing. Other symptoms may include sinus infections, impaired growth, fatty stool, clubbing of the fingers and toes, and male infertility. The life expectancy of someone with CF is between 42 and 50 in developed countries.

It is estimated that one in every 3,600 children born in Canada has CF. More than 4,100 Canadian children, adolescents, and adults with cystic fibrosis attend specialized CF clinics.

The CFIT program is a one of a kind study being conducted at Toronto SickKids Hospital, requiring people from across Canada living with particular strains of cystic fibrosis (CF) to participate. The CFIT program’s objective is to develop effective, personalized treatments for every person living with cystic fibrosis.

Since launching the CFIT program in January 2016, SickKids scientists Dr. Christine Bear, Dr. Felix Ratjen, Dr. Janet Rossant and their colleagues have generated cell samples from 58 patient participants with cystic fibrosis. The team has used its biobank of samples to generate 29 stem cells lines, with another 15 more in various stages of completion. The five-year goal is to create 100 healthy stem cell lines representing the diversity of CF gene mutations across Canada.