Newly Discovered CF Mutations Could Be Why Some People with CF are Living Longer

Researchers hypothesize that the newly-discovered mutations help re-hydrate the airways, discouraging bacterial build-up in the lungs.

Despite a narrow average lifespan, there is a big range in how severely cystic fibrosis (CF) affects the lungs and other organs depending on an individual’s specific genetic variation, and even in how long patients sharing the same, most common genetic mutation are able to survive with CF.

This led researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital to wonder if other genetic mutations could be protective against CF’s effects. Recent findings published in the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology suggest that may be the case.

“There are some patients at one end of extreme severity who need a lung transplant very early in life, then others whose clinical presentation seems to stabilize so that they can live into the fifth and sixth decades of life,” says Pankaj Agrawal, MBBS, MMSc, principal investigator and medical director of The Manton Center’s Gene Discovery Core at Boston Children’s, who was the co-first author on the study.

To find out why, Agrawal and researchers at Boston Children’s — including Ruobing Wang, MD, a pulmonologist, and Craig Gerard, MD, PhD, chief of the Division of Respiratory Diseases — conducted the first-ever longitudinal analysis of genetic modifiers related to CF.

They combed through a population of nearly 600 CF patients registered at the Boston Children’s Cystic Fibrosis Center and found five individuals who stood out because of their advanced age — in their 50s or 60s — and relatively normal lung function.

“Given the large size of our center’s patient population, we were able to find a number of individuals at this rare ‘extreme,'” says Wang, who was co-first author on the paper.

A new hypothesis for mitigating cystic fibrosis

To discover the genetic variants, the researchers collected blood from these patients and performed whole exome sequencing on their DNA, analyzing the “coding” section of the genome that is responsible for most disease-related mutations.

Sequencing the genes of these five Boston Children’s patients — a cohort known as “long-term non-progressors” — the researchers found a set of rare and never-before-discovered genetic variants that might help explain their longevity and stable lung function.

The gene variants are related to so-called epithelial sodium channels (ENaCs), semi-permeable cellular pathways responsible for reabsorbing sodium in the kidney, colon, lung and sweat glands.

“Our hypothesis is that these ENaC mutations help to rehydrate the airways of CF patients, making it less likely for detrimental bacteria to take up residence in the lungs,” says Wang.

The discovery brings ENaCs into the limelight as a potential new therapeutic target.

“For example, if we could target ENaCs with a small molecule or an antibody-based drug, we might be able to incur a protective effect against CF’s progression,” says Agrawal, who is also a physician in the Boston Children’s Division of Newborn Medicine.

Based on their findings, the team is now doing further studies to analyze the genetics of patients at the other end of the CF spectrum — those with extremely severe clinical presentation of symptoms at a young age.

Story Source:

Boston Children’s Hospital. “Some people with cystic fibrosis might live longer because of genetic mutations: Researchers hypothesize that the newly-discovered mutations help re-hydrate the airways, discouraging bacterial build-up in the lungs.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 October 2017. <https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171025150620.htm>.

Materials provided by Boston Children’s HospitalNote: Content may be edited for style and length.

Upcoming deadline for USACFA Scholarship!

We are extending the Spring 2018 deadline until November 15, 2017!

The United States Adult Cystic Fibrosis Association (“USACFA”) offers the Lauren Melissa Kelly Scholarship award each semester, in honor of Lauren Melissa Kelly. The scholarships of up to $2500 are awarded to adults with cystic fibrosis who are pursuing career certifications, associates, and bachelor and graduate degrees.

Please find scholarship criteria and requirements on our website and direct any questions to scholarships@usacfa.org.

http://www.cfroundtable.com/announcements/united-states-adult-cystic-fibrosis-association-scholarship/

A fall 2017 scholarship recipient, Elizabeth Shea, has shared with us how her college experience has been shaped by having CF and all that she has been able to accomplish through the help of our scholarship and her dedication to hard work and passion in performing music.  In her own words:

As a winner of the USACFA scholarship for the fall semester of 2017, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to share some of my experiences as a college student with CF.  I thought it might be helpful to kids who are applying to colleges now, or those who are in college deciding on a major, to hear a little about what I’ve done and why.

First I should say I am now a junior at Stetson University.  I play flute and I am a double major: music education and music performance.  I added the second major at the end of my sophomore year.  I also joined the music sorority Sigma Alpha Iota in my sophomore year.  Both decisions have had a big impact on my life at college.

Music education was my original major, and believe me, it kept me very busy.  Between classes, private lessons, multiple ensemble rehearsals, mandatory recital attendance, private practice, classroom observations and studying, sometimes I hardly have time for lunch.  But, I knew that if I added a performance major, my playing ability would be seen as more competitive down the road when I’m applying to graduate school, or even in competing for a teaching job.  So, I went for it.

My decision to join a sorority was also significant.  Not only am I a member, I am now the treasurer of our chapter.  With weekly chapter meetings, events, executive board meetings, financial reports, banking, etc. I’ve had to dedicate a decent amount of time to SAI.  But the payoff has been great.  The sorority gives me an awesome group of close friends who all share my love of music.  I’m able to socialize with them and not just spend time in classes, performing and studying with them.  I’m also getting some valuable experience being in a leadership role with responsibilities that are new to me.

So, as you can imagine, I’m really, really busy this year.  I’ve had to be very careful to keep up with my medical treatments so that I can stay healthy.  Bottom line is, don’t assume that because of CF you have to limit yourself or skip things.  I might have to work a little harder to keep up with everything that I’ve added this year, but I am enjoying all the new challenges.  Of course, this year is also harder because I’m a junior performance major and so I am expected to perform at a higher level.  No pressure, right?  But I think I’m up for it.  Just try things and see what you can do.  You can always cut back if you end up overwhelmed, but if you don’t try, you will never know if you could have done it!

 

Live Stream the North American CF Conference Tomorrow for Free!

The North American CF Conference (NACFC) provides a collaborative and educational forum for all CF professionals. The educational elements of the meeting program are targeted to physicians, nurses, research scientists, respiratory therapists, physical therapists, nutritionists, social workers, and pharmacists. Continue reading Live Stream the North American CF Conference Tomorrow for Free!

DEADLINE EXTENDED for the Spring 2018 Lauren Melissa Kelly Scholarship!

We are extending the deadline until November 15, 2017!

The United States Adult Cystic Fibrosis Association (“USACFA”) offers the Lauren Melissa Kelly Scholarship award each semester, in honor of Lauren Melissa Kelly. The scholarships of up to $2500 are awarded to adults with cystic fibrosis who are pursuing career certifications, associates, and bachelor and graduate degrees.

Please find scholarship criteria and requirements on our website:

http://www.cfroundtable.com/announcements/united-states-adult-cystic-fibrosis-association-scholarship/

Nancy Wech, Lauren’s mother, established this scholarship in Lauren’s name and memory. In Nancy’s own words:

Lauren Melissa Kelly was an extraordinary woman. Laughing, gregarious, spontaneous, fun, talkative, driven, thoughtful, smart, kind and loving — all descriptive terms for Lauren, who lost her battle with CF late in her senior year at the University of Georgia. In 1992, Lauren was chosen as one of ten Senior Leaders at University of Georgia. She had distinguished herself as a member of the Golden Key Honor Society, Mortar Board, Phi Upsilon Omicron, Gamma Beta Phi, the Tate Society and Delta Gamma sorority.

Lauren felt the most significant opportunities of her college career included participation in the reconstruction and formation of organizations, which will serve the university in the future. She acted as one of the re-founding members of the Phi Kappa Literary Society and was significant in the metamorphosis of the Z Club into the William Tate Society. Her other activities included Greeks Advocating Mature Management of Alcohol (GAMMA) in which she served as Secretary and Special Events Chair. She was also a member of the Women’s Glee Club for more than two years.

In recognition of her academic performance, Lauren’s degree of Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences was awarded posthumously. At the time of her death, Lauren was engaged to be married and living off campus in an apartment. She lived life to the fullest!

Walt Disney said, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened. It’s not the days in life you remember, it’s the moments.” As Lauren’s mother stated, “I smile because she happened to me. Now, I want you to smile because she has happened to you.”

If you have any questions or concerns, reach out to us at scholarships@usacfa.org

 

USACFA’s Fall 2017 Lauren Melissa Kelly Scholarship Winners

The US Adult CF Association (USACFA) is excited to announce our recipients of the Lauren Melissa Kelly Scholarship: Congratulations to Jacob Greene and Elizabeth Shea! They will be awarded $2500 each. Continue reading USACFA’s Fall 2017 Lauren Melissa Kelly Scholarship Winners

5 Inspirational Individuals with Cystic Fibrosis worth Following on Social Media

By Ella Balasa

I’ve created a list of young woman and men who make the most of life despite battling Cystic Fibrosis. They share their experiences, the good and the bad, on social media. They inspire, educate, and spread awareness about CF. As a person with CF myself, though I live a full life and experience similar obstacles and triumphs, I haven’t gotten the courage to show this kind of vulnerability. I hope they show both CF and non-CF people alike that we all can do many things we set our minds to despite having seemingly insurmountable obstacles in our way.

  1. Instagram: Fight2breathe

Caleigh is a 27-year-old woman who received a double lung transplant October 20, 2015. She shares posts about her daily struggles and triumphs in dealing with CF and transplant and now more recently dealing with the rejection of her lung transplant and her rapid health decline. She is incredibly knowledgeable about many procedures and tests her and her doctors discuss and she shares them with her followers in a way everyone can understand. Her genuine personality, charisma, and strength are all palpable through her words through which she relates her true fears, hopes, insecurities, and raw emotions about an unknown future. She finds something beautiful in every hard day, whether that be being able to see her pets, spending time with her loved ones, or just reading the uplifting comments on her posts.

  1. Instagram: lung_story_short

Rima shares her experience of fighting CF through humor and keeping lighthearted. Her sister shares her journey as being her caretaker while she waited for a transplant. She spent many days in the hospital exploring the hallways, playing games, crafting, and making friends with nurses. She has recently received a double lung transplant (5.14.17) and is now sharing her amazing recovery process day by day! Her lung function is increasing quickly and is gaining so much endurance and strength since being transplanted. She shares a lot about CF awareness and is becoming more known through the CF community.

“Hi my name is Rima and I have Cystic Fibrosis. I had come to the point in my health where my old lungs could no longer serve me and I was in need of a double lung transplant. Here I am now at 27 years old with brand new air baggies! It was a long journey but I am made it with the help of my trusty sidekick Laima, my sister. She joined me on my quest for new lungs when I decided to move to Colorado. The transplant center there decided that they didn’t want to do my transplant because they said that my post-transplant care would be tricky and risky due to how resistant the “bugs” in my lungs were to all antibiotics. So then the search for another center began. Thanks to my sister she discovered the U of M in Minneapolis MN with the help of a friend. Since that discovery, we are now part of the U of M family indefinitely. Throughout this whole thing, we decided we wanted to document and share everything Cystic Fibrosis related as well as transplant and organ donation. We started a blog last spring as well as started sharing on social media via Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. We want to help spread awareness because there are so many people out there that are unaware of Cystic Fibrosis. There are also a huge amount of people that aren’t organ donors, many of them just don’t know how to become one but many just avoid the subject due to either personal or religious reasons. Another thing we want to show people with CF is that you can still have a fun-filled adventurous life, you don’t have to live your life cooped up in your house to keep good health. Laughter, sunshine and the outdoors soothes the body and soul! The Cystic Fibrosis community needs a cure, and with the help of spreading awareness, we can help raise funding for research! If you would like to keep up with our story you can follow us on Instagram: @lung_story_stort, Facebook: lung story short and for the blog atwww.lungstoryshort.com” -Rima

  1. Instagram: Tiffrich22

Tiff is a 28-year-old woman who was diagnosed at birth with cystic fibrosis. She resides in sunny California where she got a transplant November 30th, 2016 at Stanford University. A few years ago she started a campaign to meet her idol Taylor Swift at a concert. With the help of family, friends, and strangers, she got her wish. Her campaign led her to start her very own YouTube channel, LUNGS4TIFF, where she helps educate people and raise awareness about CF and the hardships while telling her story through videos. She intends to show others through social Media that having a positive spirit and desire for fun in life helps anyone get through the toughest times. She is thriving and planning for adventures to come.

“Through my Instagram, I have been able to show all of the sides of CF and transplant. I knew I wanted to be real and show the not so “glamorous” side of this disease, as well as the happy go lucky side. I feel by showing the hardships that I have faced, it has helped others know that it’s okay to struggle. I always say that there’s always someone going through much worse and that I’m lucky. Now with new Lungs, I am able to start my second chance at life and go check off my bucket list items. I have been able to check off my first NBA game (Go Warriors) and ride in a hot air balloon! I am blessed and can’t wait to post more about my adventures and my journey with new Lungs.

Another way I use Instagram to help the CF community and foundation is through mine and my best friend, Lea, @SaltyCysters page. We have joined forces to provide awareness and started making workout clothes to motivate the CF community to get their lungs moving and profits go to the CF Foundation to use for research and development towards a cure.

CF Awareness is very important to me. My passion is to help others and I think that by sharing my story via Instagram and all forms of social media, I am able to show that being positive is key to conquering this horrific disease. I will continue to raise awareness and share my story, hoping that CF will soon stand for Cure Found.” – Tiff

  1. Youtube: Staying Salty Youtube Channel

A group of 6 individuals talk, inform, help, and educate about their lives and experiences with CF. They come from all different backgrounds and live all over the country. They each post a video a different day of the week. They make videos on various topics related to living life with CF, including a day in the life, how they tell others about CF, surgeries they’ve had, medication organization, CF clinics and much more. Many videos are informative and interesting to view how others with CF are managing and succeeding in life! They have full-time jobs, they travel, they raise families, and importantly, they raise awareness for the CF community.

  1. Youtube: The Frey Life

A young couple, Mary and Peter, along with their pooch Oliver, share their day to day lives in daily vlogs on their YouTube channel. Mary has CF and they share the details of daily breathing treatments, doctor appointments, and the highs and lows of dealing with a chronic illness, both as a patient and a partner. Besides the aspect of Mary’s diagnosis, they share their strong faiths and their beautiful love story as a couple with their 100K subscribers.

Hill-Rom Introduces New Monarch Airway Clearance System

New Airway Clearance Technology Designed to Improve Patient Lifestyles through Mobile Wearable Therapy

Continue reading Hill-Rom Introduces New Monarch Airway Clearance System

USACFA Scholarship Open for Applications!

USACFA Scholarship Opens Today, June 1st 2017-June30th for Fall 2017!

Please share with young adults who would be interested and qualified!

The United States Adult Cystic Fibrosis Association (USACFA) is excited to offer the Lauren Melissa Kelly Scholarship award for the Fall semester 2017. The scholarship will range from $1500 to $2500 and be awarded to adults with cystic fibrosis who are pursuing career certifications, associates, and bachelor’s degrees.

Criteria:

  • The individual must be a United States Citizen and over the age of 18 years old.
  • The individual must have a positive diagnosis of cystic fibrosis.
  • The individual must be pursuing a bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree, or certificate.
  • The individual should not be an immediate family member of someone on the USACFA board.

Requirements to include in the application:

  • The USACFA Scholarship application form (includes the 3 essays)
  • A copy of an official transcript from high school (and current college if you have completed coursework)
  • A copy of proof of enrollment for the Fall 2017 or Spring 2017 semester
  • A resume
  • A letter from the doctor/clinic on letterhead confirming cystic fibrosis diagnosis
  • A headshot

Deadlines:
ALL requirements must be sent in PDF or other appropriate digital format to scholarships@usacfa.org by Friday, June 30th, 2016 at 11:59 pm EST.

Application Form and Instructions

  1. Download our US Adult CF Association Scholarship Application 2017 form to your computer.
  2. Open and fill out the application form using your computer.
  3. Once the form is completed, please save the file.
  4. Make sure all other requirements (from above) are completed in an appropriate digital format and attach them to a single email sent to scholarships@usacfa.org.

 

AbbVie Celebrates 25th Year of its CF Scholarship and is Now Accepting Applications from Students with Cystic Fibrosis

– Scholarship recognizes 40 exceptional students with cystic fibrosis (CF) for academic excellence, creativity and community service
– In honor of the program’s 25th anniversary, AbbVie is introducing a new award category — the Blogger’s Choice Award, for an additional scholarship opportunity Continue reading AbbVie Celebrates 25th Year of its CF Scholarship and is Now Accepting Applications from Students with Cystic Fibrosis

USACFA’s 2017 Lauren Melissa Kelly Scholarship Winners

The US Adult CF Association (USACFA) is excited to announce our recipients of the Lauren Melissa Kelly Scholarship: Congratulations to Diana Wasserman and Grace Knight! They will be awarded $2500 each.

In honor of Lauren Melissa Kelly, these two exceptional recipients demonstrated outstanding potential just like Lauren years ago. Please see below for the lovely details of her incredible life. Continue reading USACFA’s 2017 Lauren Melissa Kelly Scholarship Winners