“May is Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Awareness Month,” says Dr. Danielle Adam, a pediatric respirologist at the IWK. “Our CF team is made of many exceptional allied health professionals who work together to make it possible for those with CF to live a relatively normal, happy and productive life.”
Adam is one of three respirologists who cover a variety of outpatient clinics including General Chest Clinic, Complex Respiratory Care, Cystic Fibrosis, Sleep, and Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia (PCD). They are also responsible for inpatient service for respiratory patients, on-call coverage, pulmonary function testing, and bronchoscopies.
CF is an inherited disease which affects primarily the lungs and digestive system. An estimated one in 20 Canadians carries the gene for CF. About 4300 people in Canada attend one of the 42 accredited CF clinics in Canada. The outlook for people affected with CF has never been brighter. Significant progress in treatment means that now approximately 62 per cent of the CF population are adults.
“Our Maritime CF Newborn Screening Program, which started in 2014, has been a valuable tool to not only identify CF infants early, but has also been able to help us identify individuals with an inconclusive diagnosis who may be at risk of CF, or CF-related complications later in life,” says Adam.
“Research in CF is rapidly evolving and the newer CFTR modulators (Drugs therapies designed to correct the malfunctioning protein made by the CFTR gene) are certainly changing the long-term trajectory of CF by targeting the specific defective protein. The newest CFTR modulator, Trikafta, has shown exceptionally positive results thus far, and it is hopeful this drug will soon be available to Canadians. It is incredibly rewarding to be part of a field that is so research-driven and committed to improving the lives of people with CF.”
Working at the IWK has not only allowed Adam to reap the rewards of a strong academic environment and community outreach but contribute to the well-being of all Atlantic Canadians.
“I grew up in New Maryland, NB and have spent most of my life on the East Coast, with time in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland,” says Adam. “I moved to the West Coast for my respirology fellowship, but I had always planned on retuning East to be close to my family. The IWK is the major referral centre for Atlantic Canada and I wanted to work in an environment that allowed me to stay connected to New Brunswick and Newfoundland.”