The limitations, assumptions and consequences to a cure for Cystic Fibrosis.

Essay by MuscleHigh School, 10th gradeA+, August 2005

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The defective gene that causes cystic fibrosis was discovered in 1989. Researchers are experimenting with correcting the defective gene. In 1993 a drug to thin mucus called Pulmozyme (dornase alfa) was introduced, and in 1997 an inhaled antibiotic (tobramycin) was approved. So basically, there is no cure for CF at the moment, researchers have only been able to reduce the harmfulness of the symptoms and increase the life expectancy of a person with CF.

The future prospect to finding a cure for Cystic Fibrosis looks bright. There are many national foundations working to not only extend the lives of people affected by cystic fibrosis, but to actually cure the disease and best of all, prevent it from occurring.

While continuing to search for a cure, researchers are examining gene therapy - which can be applied to the lungs and making advances in drug therapy.

Drugs like Pulmozyme and Tobramycin have side effects on the patient that uses them.

The most common side effects occurring with the use of Pulmozyme include voice alterations and pharyngitis. Other side effects include rash, laryngitis, chest pain and shortness of breath. There is also a concern that long-term or intermittent use of high dose Tobramycin (antibiotics) may lead to toxicity. Then again, using these drugs helps the sufferer live for a longer life span.

Gene therapy does have risks and limitations. The viruses and other agents used to deliver the "good" genes can affect more than the cells for which they're intended. If a gene is added to DNA, it could be put in the wrong place, which could potentially cause cancer or other damage. Genes can also be "over expressed," meaning they can drive the production of so much of a protein that they can be harmful. Another consequence is that a virus introduced...