Cystic Fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30, 000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide). A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and leads to life threatening lung infections and obstructs the pancreas. This stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food. Without critical funding, young people afflicted with this disease will continue to suffer from fatal lung infections, impaired digestion, and face a median life expectancy of 38 years.
A child must inherit a defective copy of the CF gene (one from each parent) to have cystic fibrosis. Each time two carriers conceive a child, there is a 25 percent chance that the child will have CF; a 50 percent chance that the child will be a carrier; and a 25 percent chance that the child will be a non-carrier.