* 30,000 people in the United States have cystic fibrosis.
* It is the most common fatal inherited disease among whites in the U.S.
* There is no cure.
* It usually manifests itself within three years of birth.
* The median age for survival is 31.
* Symptoms include very salty-tasting skin; persistent coughing, wheezing or pneumonia; excessive appetite but poor weight gain.
* Defective cells in the lining of such critical organs as the lungs are unable to carry out the normal transport of chloride and sodium. Eventually the imbalance leads to a viscous, sticky mucus that coats the lungs. Wheezing, coughing and pneumonia result, along with inflammation and infection.
* Traditional therapies have included vigorous percussion of the back and chest to dislodge the mucus; antibiotics are used to treat infection; bronchodilators are used to open up clogged airways. Three drugs are in the first phase of testing.
Source: The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
For more information:
* Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
6931 Arlington Road, Bethesda, MD 20814
Telephone: (800) FIGHT-CF
* Boomer Esiason Foundation