JUNCTION CITY, Ore. -- Researchers at Oregon State University and Oregon Health and Science University have recently made some major breakthroughs in a new cutting edge treatment for Cystic Fibrosis patients.
Cystic Fibrosis is a potentially fatal disease that primarily impacts the lungs and digestive system, often making it hard to breathe. It's a progressive disease, meaning it only gets worse with time. It's caused by a faulty gene.
Right now, the life expectancy for these patients is just 37 years. There's no cure for it, just treatments that help many of the symptoms the disease causes.
However, researchers have found a way to treat the actual gene that's causing the disease, rather than just the symptoms. They've been trying to develop an effective, non-invasive treatment that patients can use when they are young so they can stop the progression of the disease before it gets worse.
"We are cautious, but optimistic that this will impact the life of the patient," said Gaurav Sahay, assistant professor for Oregon State University and Oregon Health and Science University.
He said the treatment is still years away from being something patients can actually use but said said they have been able to prove the concept works.
Rhonda Ettinger has a 13-year-old son, Grant, who has Cystic Fibrosis. She said he is often in extreme pain, and because of his medications, treatments and hopsital stays, he often misses out on being a kid. She said a treatment like this would be a game changer.
"To know that there is a future, a possibility of these kids not going through half of what he has gone through, is just so exciting," Ettinger said.
There is still no cure for the disease, but Sahay said this is step in the right direction.