Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an increasingly prevalent genetic disease in the United States and Europe and is characterized by progressive damage to the respiratory and digestive system due to the production of thick, sticky mucus that comes to damage and infect organs such as the lungs and pancreas. Because of the disease’s characteristics, the mucus cased by CF is unable to fulfill lubrication and immunological functions, typically associated with normal build-up of mucous, and instead comes to block the lung airways and other inner air ducts.
Early treatment for cystic fibrosis can improve patients’ quality of life and increase lifespan, thanks to breakthrough therapies developed for the disease over the past few decades. Modern treatments now include nutritional and respiratory therapies, medicines, exercise, and other treatments, all of which allow CF patients to live into their 30s and 40s. In the first half of the 20th century, most cystic fibrosis sufferers died in childhood.
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All the complications involved with this disease, however, still pre-establish a low survival rate in CF patients, highlighting the importance of early diagnosis and treatment to improve the quality of life and increase lifespan. In response to this issue, David Stevens from the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, in collaboration with Bruce Marshall from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, have recently published a study that aims to capture a wider perspective on the specific improvements made in CF treatment over the past decade.
The new report includes ten years of improvement in the strategic efforts in CF-related health care, and the related improvement in the quality of life and added years for cystic fibrosis patients in the United States. It includes a collaborative improvement to standardize and bolster the care practices, involvement of patients and families in this process, and the tracking of the patients and the disease evolution.
The published report includes data ranging from the impact of patient education on improving adherence to critical daily treatments, to improvement initiatives and the strategies used for boosting the patients’ nutritional status. In other sections of the report, the authors explore the management of complications in the patients’ conditions.
“From 2002 to 2012, the median predicted survival age for people with CF increased nearly 10 years, from 31.3 years to 41.1 years.” This has been an important improvement for CF patients lives. It is easy to resume this report and its objective in the authors’ words “This report identifies strategies to widen the circle of improvement professionals who successfully publish their innovative work in scholarly journals.”
This new study joins a recent cystic fibrosis market analysis, which reveals that the market for new therapies is expected to increase to $4.5 billion by 2019. By examining progress made in the past as well as projections for the future, there is a high measure of hope among cystic fibrosis patents and their families that next-generation therapies will be soon in coming from drug developers and researchers.