Stay informed about the HIT-CF project! Use the buttons on the left to navigate through recent developments.

May 28th, 2020 – Good news for the HIT-CF project, primary screening sites at university labs of Lisboa, Leuven and Utrecht have started again the screening of the drugs on organoids!

New rules apply, such as physical distancing and masks, and only 1/3 of the staff can be at the lab at the same time, but research is back on track!


April 16th, 2020 – The “Protocol for Application, Standardization and Validation of the Forskolin-Induced Swelling Assay in Cystic Fibrosis Human Colon Organoids” has been published in STAR Protocols, a Cell press journal. Check out more details in Scientific Publications.


April 7th, 2020 – The Coronavirus crisis is not stopping the HIT-CF coordinating team! Regular online meetings are held to prepare for the next step in the project: the clinical study testing Proteostasis compounds in patients with high organoid responses. About one third of all patients are currently screened.


April 6th, 2020 – Due to the Covid-19 world crisis, lab activities throughout Europe has been put on hold.

Iris Silva is the responsible for the organoids screening at Lisbon University. Part of the organoids, which were grown from rectal biopsies collected from CF donors, are to be tested there at Lisbon University in order to evaluate how the organoids respond to the drug candidates. These tests will determine who can participate to the clinical trials planned to start end of 2020. Screening is on stand by now, but Lisbon lab will do its best to keep up with the timeline! – Iris Silva says:


March 30th, 2020 – The Covid-19 epidemic continues impacting every aspects of the HIT-CF project. KU Leuven and Eloxx Pharmaceuticals tell us what this crisis has changed for them and what it means for the project.

The CF research lab at the Catholic University of Leuven (KU Leuven) in Belgium is one of the academic sites participating in the screening of the organoids, with the objective to identify new compounds to treat CF in patients with rare mutations.

“At the moment, due to the Covid-19 crisis and according to the national guidelines implemented at the University to limit the spreading of the virus, we had to postpone all the work in the lab, including the screening of the drug candidates in the CF organoids” says Anabela S. Ramalho, post-doctoral researcher responsible for the CF research lab at KU Leuven.

“All the samples that have not been yet tested are safely stored (frozen) and will be analysed when the new guidelines allow to return to work in the lab, hopefully as soon as possible. In the meantime, we will work further on the analysis of the data that was already collected.​”

Below, Anabela S. Ramalho gives us a tour of the unusually quiet and deserted lab at KU Leuven:


Eloxx Pharmaceuticals (Waltham, MA, USA), industrial partner providing drug candidates, is also implementing safety measures:

“In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Eloxx has temporarily paused enrollment across our Cystic Fibrosis clinical trials in an effort to avoid unnecessary exposure in at-risk populations, to main tain the integrity of our study data and to support global healthcare providers in their commitment to ensure patient safety. Despite this pause, Eloxx Pharmaceuticals remains committed to the HIT-CF consortium and the broader cystic fibrosis community and will continue our efforts to advance novel therapeutics for patients with unmet medical needs.”


March 26th, 2020 – Proteostasis Therapeutics Inc. (Boston, MA, USA) is one of our industrial partners in this outstanding adventure. They also have taken measures to contribute to the hindering of the epidemic spreading throughout the globe, president and CEO explains:


March 23rd, 2020 – Covid-19 epidemic is impacting research and the HIT-CF project

The ECFS-CTN coordinating centre in Leuven, Belgium, is fully operational at the moment, with everybody working from home. The clinical trial sites part of the network are implementing contingency plans for ongoing trials in cooperation with study sponsors and based on the local situation and guidelines, to maximise patient safety.

Below, Kors van der Ent, coordinator of the HIT-CF project at UMC Utrecht, gives an update of the current status of the project and of what awaits us in the months to come. “Stay strong, and stay safe, we will overcome the crisis, and we will win the battle against CF!”



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Contact information

HIT-CF Europe
Joseph Borlélaan 12
1160  Brussels