Learn about cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that affects the lungs, pancreas, and other organs, and how to treat and live with this chronic disease.
CF is a rare genetic disease found in about 30,000 people in the U.S. If you have CF or are considering testing for it, knowing about the role of genetics in CF can help you make informed decisions about your health care.
If you or your child has just been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, or your doctor has recommended testing for CF, you may have many questions.
Diagnosing CF is a multistep process. A complete diagnostic evaluation should include a newborn screening, a sweat chloride test, a genetic or carrier test, and a clinical evaluation at a CF Foundation-accredited care center.
Raising a child with cystic fibrosis can bring up many questions because CF affects many aspects of your child’s life. Here you’ll find resources to help you manage your child’s daily needs and find the best possible CF care.
Living with cystic fibrosis comes with many challenges, including medical, social, and financial. By learning more about how you can manage your disease every day, you can ultimately help find a balance between your busy lifestyle and your CF care.
People with CF are living longer, healthier lives than ever before. As an adult with CF, you may reach key milestones you might not have considered. Planning for these life events requires careful thought as you make decisions that may impact your life.
People with cystic fibrosis are living longer and more fulfilling lives, thanks in part to specialized CF care and a range of treatment options.
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation-accredited care centers provide expert care and specialized disease management to people living with cystic fibrosis.
We provide funding for and accredit more than 120 care centers and 53 affiliate programs nationwide. The high quality of specialized care available throughout the care center network has led to the improved length and quality of life for people with CF.
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation provides standard care guidelines based on the latest research, medical evidence, and consultation with experts on best practices.
As a clinician, you’re critical in helping people with CF maintain their quality of life. We’re committed to helping you partner with patients and their families by providing resources you can use to improve and continue to provide high-quality care.
As part of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's mission to help improve the lives of people living with cystic fibrosis, the PSDC initiative taps the CF community to inform key efforts to support the management of daily care.
Your cystic fibrosis care team includes a group of CF health care professionals who partner with you to provide specialized, comprehensive CF care.
Many people living with cystic fibrosis and their families face complicated issues related to getting the care they need. Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Compass makes sure that no one has to do it alone.
CF Foundation Compass is a service that helps people with CF and their families with navigating insurance options, connecting to legal information and experts, finding available financial resources, and tackling other life issues.
CF care team members are paramount in providing highly specialized care to people living with CF. CF Foundation Compass can help by serving as a strategic ally for care teams, so team members can focus on their patients’ care.
CF Foundation Compass can help you navigate insurance, financial, legal, and other issues you are facing. Use this online form to start your conversation with a Compass case manager today.
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is the world’s leader in the search for a cure for CF and supports a broad range of research initiatives to tackle the disease from all angles.
The CF Foundation offers a number of resources for learning about clinical trials and treatments that are being developed to improve the treatment of cystic fibrosis.
Our understanding of CF continues to evolve as scientists study what causes the disease and how it affects the body. These insights drive the development of new and better treatments and bring us one step closer to a cure.
Researchers, supported by the CF Foundation, have made tremendous advances to improve the health and quality of life of people with CF. We are committed to providing the tools and resources you need to continuously build upon this work.
Cystic fibrosis researchers are at the forefront of a growing field of personalized medicine in which doctors will increasingly be able to tailor therapies to patients based on their genetic makeup.
Scientific breakthroughs in the past 20 years have advanced our understanding of genetics and its role in causing diseases. These breakthroughs also have ushered in a new era in which doctors can prescribe a particular therapy based on an individual's DNA.
More and more people with cystic fibrosis are benefitting from this type of personalized, or precision, medicine because of the advancement of drugs known as modulators. Each of the four U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved modulators are prescribed for people with CF who have specific mutations in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene.
Eventually up to 90 percent of people with cystic fibrosis could benefit from these CFTR modulators. But with more than 1,700 disease-causing mutations of the CFTR gene, CF researchers are trying to increase the number of CFTR mutations that these drugs are approved to treat. To do that, they are working on a process called “theratyping.” Essentially, theratyping matches therapies, or medications, to specific types of mutations to allow even more people with CF to reap the benefits of CFTR modulators.
The primary goal of theratyping is to identify which mutations respond to certain CFTR modulators, thereby helping people with rare CFTR mutations gain access to already approved CFTR modulators quickly and safely.
The conventional process for determining whether a drug successfully targets a particular mutation has been through clinical trials in people with CF who have a specific mutation. Clinical trials are feasible when there are enough people with that mutation to test, but this process becomes problematic for individuals whose mutations are so rare that only a handful of other people have them in the world. (About 1,000 of the 1,700 CFTR mutations occur in fewer than five people.)
For this reason, researchers are testing CFTR modulators on cells affected by rare CFTR mutations to see if the proteins they produce show improved function. If the lab tests show positive results, that information is shared with the drug's manufacturer. The pharmaceutical company will use this information to help inform their own research into whether to submit an application to the FDA to expand a drug to new mutations.
The FDA already has demonstrated a willingness to use lab results as a factor in deciding whether to expand eligibility for an approved drug. The agency relied on a combination of lab results, clinical data, and the drug's established safety record to expand the use of ivacaftor to people with CF.
To understand what needs to be done to implement theratyping, it helps to know more background about how scientists test drugs in the lab.
In preclinical testing -- work done before a drug is tested in clinical trials -- researchers create “models” of a patient's system by taking cell samples from different parts of the body or creating cells expressing mutant versions of CFTR. To conduct numerous tests, they put the cells into a medium where the cells divide into a group of identical cells. This cell line is then used for testing to see how it would potentially act in an actual patient.
Researchers expose the cells to CFTR modulators to replicate what might happen in your body. They look for certain indications as to whether a drug is working.
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics Lab in Lexington, Mass., houses a collection of cells with different CF-causing mutations, including nonsense mutations which are used to test whether certain compounds may benefit people with nonsense mutations and are worth developing further into drugs.
The lab's scientists also are spearheading a new initiative to collect and grow cells from other people with rare mutations. These cells will be critical for screening potential new drugs and other treatment options for rare mutations, and they will be made available to other CF researchers to advance research. The Foundation is collecting these cells at sites around the U.S. as part of a study called RARE.
In addition to this work, the Foundation supported two observational studies -- GOAL and PROSPECT -- in which researchers tried to match clinical changes in a patient's health after taking a CFTR modulator with changes that can be seen in cells in the lab.
In the PROSPECT study, for example, researchers collected nasal cell samples from individuals with CF to see how these cells responded to lumacaftor/ivacaftor (Orkambi®) in the lab. Then they compared the cellular response to the person's response in real life, to identify new biomarkers in the lab that signal positive or negative health effects. Likewise, in the GOAL study, researchers looked at the effects of ivacaftor (Kalydeco®) on people with CF and compared them to changes observed in the lab. The results of the GOAL and PROSPECT studies are beginning to be analyzed and published with interesting findings in infection, inflammation, and gastrointestinal issues.
In a new study called PROMISE, researchers will be looking at the effect that elexacaftor/tezacaftor/ivacaftor (Trikafta™) has on the overall health of people with CF, including lung function, inflammation, infection, mucus, gastrointestinal symptoms, intestinal pH, glucose regulation, bone health, and liver disease.
The CF Foundation hopes that the findings from these studies will eventually help doctors select the medication that will have the most benefit for individuals. Researchers believe these studies and others like it will lead to a greater understanding of what happens when individuals with CF take CFTR modulators and help provide insights that will lead to treatments for other CF mutations.
In the meantime, the Foundation is working with researchers on the next generation of drugs that will address other mutations as well as therapies that could help all individuals with CF regardless of their mutation.
Reference to any specific product, process, or service does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The appearance of external hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of the linked websites, or the information, products, or services contained therein.
Information contained on this site does not cover all possible uses, actions, precautions, side effects, or interactions. This site is not intended as a substitute for treatment advice from a medical professional. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your treatment.
FDA-approved drug information is available at dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed.
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