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Sept/Oct 2009

Michael Konstan - Sept/Oct 2009 - Connections - CF Foundation
Dr. Michael Konstan at Rainbow
Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland.

An All-Star Among Us

Standing on the field at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Mo., for the opening of Major League Baseball’s 2009 All-Star Game, Dr. Michael Konstan never imagined he would be honored for his commitment to cystic fibrosis — let alone be applauded by a crowd of more than 45,000 fans. “I actually thought I would follow in my father’s footsteps and become a dentist,” he says.

Konstan directs the CF Foundation-accredited care center at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital and the CF research center at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland. He was chosen as the Cleveland Indians’ “All-Star” by People magazine and Major League Baseball for his “life’s work on cystic fibrosis and those with the disease.” The “All-Stars Among Us” campaign honored 30 leaders nationwide for making a stand-out difference in their communities.

A leader in CF research and care for 20 years, Konstan also is chief of the Division of Pediatric Pulmonology and Allergy/Immunology and interim chair of the Department of Pediatrics.

In the lab, he supervises clinical research and has pioneered pivotal therapies, such as the use of anti-inflammatory drugs to treat CF lung disease. Known for his unwavering dedication to his patients, Konstan’s care and compassion bring comfort and hope to those he treats and their families.

Becoming an All-Star

2009 All-Star Game at Busch Stadium in St. Louis
2009 All-Star Game at Busch Stadium
in St. Louis.

 

A longtime fan of the Cleveland Indians, Konstan was thrilled by the opportunity to raise more awareness and support for CF on a major-league level.

As a pre-med student, Konstan first worked with CF patients as a volunteer at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital. “I was really inspired by CF patients and their courage facing this disease,” recalls Konstan. “I’m always amazed by the way people with CF live their lives to the fullest.”

Konstan says he has seen a transformation in the disease.

“When I became involved with CF in the mid-1970s, the hospital was full of children with CF who were very sick. And now it’s rare for us to have a child in the hospital,” says Konstan. “It shows that we really have made Great Strides with this disease, thanks to the many new therapies and the care provided by CF centers across the country.”

Looking for a Win

Now, with more than 30 potential therapies in the Foundation’s drug development pipeline, including some that may treat the basic defect, Konstan knows research is on the right track.

“A cure to me would mean halting the progression of the lung disease. I think there’s a real opportunity to do that with some of the drugs that are currently being developed for CF,” Konstan says. “My ultimate hope is that we will find a cure for this disease that will allow people with CF to live a full life, doing all the things they ever dreamed of doing.”

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