Scottish scientists part of breakthrough in cystic fibrosis research


Neutrophils with segmented nuclei surrounded by erythrocytes and platelets. Intra-cellular granules are visible in the cytoplasm (Giemsa stained).


Scientists from Edinburgh University working with researchers in the USA and Ireland have made a discovery which could lead to new treatments for cystic fibrosis. They’ve found that immune cells called neutrophils, which normally defend against infection, can sometimes cause damage to the lungs. They are working on drugs that will attack these cells and slow or stop the progression of the disease.

I’ve reported before on other cases of Scottish researchers make an international contribution so it’s good to see another like this. Here are the links to some earlier examples which confirm the high value of our University system and its reputation abroad:

Scottish university research to help developing nations remove arsenic from water supplies

University of Dundee awarded £7 million to work in partnership with India to fight diabetes

Scottish Veterinary researchers working to improve the health and productivity of farmed animals in sub-Saharan Africa.

Scottish Association for Marine Science to lead seaweed research to benefit developing nations

Scottish Researchers again!

Scotland (Edinburgh), Singapore (1) and Switzerland (2) are the only small countries to have universities in the world’s top twenty-rated institutions. Bear in mind how affluent Singapore and Switzerland are. All of the others are in the USA, England and France. Research output is the main criterion.


5 thoughts on “Scottish scientists part of breakthrough in cystic fibrosis research

  1. Ludo Thierry October 3, 2017 / 7:15 pm

    Hi John – A bit late tonight but thought I’d visit and say ‘Hi’ anyway.

    Good to see this cutting edge research happening right here in Scotland. Also hopeful that might lead to further development and production work based here in due course.Noticed a report yesterday from a Medical Optical Imaging Technology company based in Scotland which has recently been acquired by a large Japanese company – but the combination seems to have been a very positive one – with benefits all round (see below):

    Pre-tax profits at Fife retinal imaging company Optos almost doubled in the first full year of ownership by Nikon.

    The Dunfermline firm, whose equipment produces high resolution digital images of the retina, saw its revenue top $100 million for the first time in a year where its production costs reduced.

    Turnover for the year ending March 31 was $102.9m, a 26% increase from $81.9m in 2016. Pre-tax profits jumped from $15.8m to $28.8m.

    The business, based at Carnegie Business Campus, was bought by the Japanese camera maker for £259m in May 2015.

    Its technology provides a bigger picture and more clinical information for the early detection, management and effective treatment of disorders and diseases. These include retinal detachments and tears, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration.

    Company chief executive Robert Kennedy said profits had increased as a result of “increased intercompany sales, continued production efficiency and product cost reduction”.
    He stressed the importance of the company continuing to invest in research and development.

    He said: “The directors are pleased with the progress being made in terms of the future product roadmap.

    “The company continues to invest in the enhancement of our existing products and in the development of a number of new products and software tools.

    “The launch of the new products must meet the required specifications, costs and timescales and a key element of this risk continues to be obtaining the appropriate regulatory clearances.

    “Product launches also increase the potential risk of inventory obsolescence for the older products.

    “The risk that a third party may produce a more advanced product with improved functionality, or a similar device with a significantly lower build costs is constant.

    “The company ensures continual investment in research and development, developing the quality and functionality of its products and in the clinical department to demonstrate the clinical efficacy and superiority of its devices.”

    The company reports its income in US dollars as that is the currency in which the majority of its revenues and costs arise.

    I’m assuming from the comment about reporting results in $ means the bulk of revenues are from exports. We seem to be seeing a heck of a lot of Scottish companies (in very varied fields) reporting very significant export earnings. If we ever get access (short of Indy) to some ‘official’ figures that actually tell us something akin to reality I suspect the Scots will be mightily shocked at the actual export performance we have been achieving.

    Ta, Ludo


    • Alasdair Macdonald October 3, 2017 / 9:25 pm

      Ludo, I find your final sentence very interesting – ‘…. figures that actually tell us something akin to reality I suspect the Scots will be mightily SHOCKED (my capitalisation)….”

      Initially, I was taken aback by your use of the word, but, on reflection, I think, sadly, that a substantial number might well be ‘shocked’. Many unionists, particularly Labour in Scotland’ will be, because it ca’s the feet from a significant, but mendacious, strand of their argument. However, others, because of years of the drip-drip-drip of ‘Scotland rubbish’ from the media, will be shocked by disbelief – we cannae be good because we’ve always been, to quote Ms Jackie Baillie, ‘pish’.

      From your own perspective, is your use of the word Freudian?


  2. Ludo Thierry October 4, 2017 / 8:13 pm

    Hi Alasdair – Hi John. Thanks for taking the trouble to comment on my post Alasdair.

    No – I don’t think my choice of vocabulary “..the Scots will be mightily shocked at the actual export performance we have been achieving”. – I really do believe we will be ‘SHOCKED’ at the figures when we finally can dig them out.

    I have nil professional expertise in economics, accountancy or political economy. However, like many others who found their eyes opened by the duplicitous dealings of the MSM and ‘official’ U.K.authorities during the Indyref process, I have continued to try and improve my knowledge in these areas.

    Monitoring several recent Scottish companies during the current ‘reporting season’ of company results is showing up some examples of export performance which is simply staggering (recent examples of figures in the area of 30% and 40% of total earnings reported).

    I see the ‘official’ figures (today) confirm further growth in the Scottish economy in the latest reported quarter (of 0.1%). I’d be very interested indeed to see some accurate breakdown of the ‘export’ element involved. The official UK figures we are offered are, perhaps, not capturing the level of accuracy many would like to see.

    I noticed that Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) which is a company under Scottish Govt ownership released their 2016/17 figures today(see below):

    Leading regional airport operator, Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL), is reporting a significant increase in turnover and passenger numbers for the 2016/17 financial year. The private limited company, which is wholly owned by the Scottish Ministers and is responsible for the management and operation of 11 airports across the Highlands and Islands, has boosted turnover to £21.4 million, increased passenger numbers by 15.4% to 1.6 million, and cut losses from £3.38 million in 2015/16 to just £8,000, for the same period in 2016/17.

    Figures also highlight a continued investment of £16 million across the group’s airports at Barra, Benbecula, Campbeltown, Dundee, Inverness, Islay, Kirkwall, Stornoway, Sumburgh, Tiree and Wick. HIAL Chief Executive, Inglis Lyon, believes the airport group is in good shape for further growth in the current financial year.

    Notice the dramatically improved figures – even while a huge £16M investment programme is being undertaken.

    Even more encouraging are the figures available for the current part-year to date: The improved passenger numbers have continued during the 2017/18 financial year, with the total to August across the 11 HIAL airports reaching 832,287 – a 10.6% increase on the same period for the previous year.

    Will we see this ‘splashed’ across the MSM? – doubt it!

    Cheers, have enjoyed chatting, Ludo

    Liked by 1 person

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