About Cystic Fibrosis1
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited genetic disorder which causes mucus-like secretions in the lungs and other organs. First identified in the 1930’s, CF used to be a death sentence for infants, with a median survival age of six months. Although there is no cure, advances in medicine today allow many CF patients to live to adulthood.
Among Caucasian populations, one in twenty-five individuals carries a recessive genetic mutation which causes CF. Children born with CF struggle to breathe, and will struggle with severe lung infections during their lifetime. Treatments include antibiotics to fight infections and the use of respirators to assist breathing. Later in life, CF patients often require lung transports to survive.
Although a few thousand infants are born with CF each year, it is not common enough to be a major focus for pharmaceutical and medical device companies. Subsequently, many of the recent advances in treatment have come as the result of research funded by private grants and donations. Organizations such as the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation are key to this effort.