Posted: 3rd May 2019

In 2015, freemasons donated £500,000 to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust to fund a pioneering project that had the potential to revolutionise the management and treatment of cystic fibrosis. Over the next three years, the Cystic Fibrosis Trust would create and test SmartCareCF – a new healthcare model that allows people to monitor their condition from home and liaise with their specialist health teams remotely.

What is cystic fibrosis?

Cystic fibrosis is a complex genetic disease that affects the lungs, liver and pancreas. The disease causes, amongst other symptoms, breathing difficulties and chronic lung infections. It is a condition that requires constant monitoring, meaning that patients are required to make regular trips to hospital – an exhausting and time-consuming process. There is no cure and currently only half of those living with cystic fibrosis in the UK will live past the age of 41. But thanks to advances in research, treatment and care, life expectancy is getting longer.

Helping people to manage their condition from home

By allowing patients to manage their condition from home, researchers intended that the creation of SmartCareCF would reduce hospital-based cross infections, lessen the daily burden of living with the condition and give patients more knowledge and control of their condition. Ultimately, they hoped that it would help thousands of people with cystic fibrosis to live longer and more fulfilling lives.

Not only did this masonic grant support the development of the SmartCareCF kit – based around a smartphone based app – it has also funded the crucial next stage, a period of testing on cystic fibrosis patients across the country.

SmartCareCF offers a solution to many problems facing cystic fibrosis patients

The initial results of this study have proved to be extremely promising with the majority of people finding home-monitoring helpful as a better way to manage their condition. Whilst further analysis is needed, the results suggest that SmartCareCF can offer a solution to many of the problems facing cystic fibrosis patients.

If rolled out more widely, the use of remote monitoring technology could transform the lives of people with cystic fibrosis, allowing them more time and freedom to spend with their families and friends, doing what they love, and living their lives unlimited by cystic fibrosis. In the words of one participant:

It was a great trial with lots of potential to improve people’s lives. I’ll continue monitoring some of the readings for my own benefit in the future and I hope the clinic eventually get to integrate it with their own service

Medical research grants

The MCF is now advancing medical research by funding PhD studentships at some of the UK’s most prestigious research institutions. In 2018, the MCF donated almost £2 million to fund ground-breaking research into degenerative diseases.

Find out more about the MCF’s medical research funding >>