Among the greatest medical discoveries of the 20th century was the identification of drugs that can cure many infectious diseases: the antibiotics. However, left in the wake of this revolution is a group of “chronic” infections that are not as responsive to antibiotics as would be predicted based on our in vitro testing of the microbes believed to cause these diseases. The Hoffman laboratory hopes to understand why chronic infections do not respond well to therapy.
The infections that occur in the lungs of people with the genetic diseases cystic fibrosis (CF) are among the best-studied and most devastating chronic infections. As such, most of our research focuses on this disease, with the hopes that our work will benefit not only people with CF, but also people suffering from other chronic infections of the lungs and other organs. In particular, the research question that drives most of our current research is:
Why do people with CF (and other) chronic lung infections not improve with antibiotic treatment as much as we would like?
To answer this question, there are several lines of investigation we are currently pursuing, all of which are motivated by specific observations we or others have made regarding chronic lung infections. Our ultimate hope is to learn how to eradicate chronic lung infections, and halt the lung disease that these devastating infections produce.