New San Antonio cystic fibrosis clinic seeing positive improvements in patients

Cystic fibrosis affects more than 30,000 Americans

SAN ANTONIO – Last month, a movie called "Five Feet Apart" brought awareness to the somewhat unknown disease cystic fibrosis.

CF is a rare genetic disease found in more than 30,000 people in the United States.

In San Antonio, University Health System recently opened a CF clinic to treat patients in the area. 

Dr. Donna Beth Willey-Courand, CF center director and division chief of pediatric pulmonology, UT Health San Antonio, is treating about 200 pediatric and adult patients. 

"People who have CF have a problem where they have thicker and stickier mucus and secretions in their lungs and their gastrointestinal tracts," Willey-Courand said. 

Over the past several years, there have been significant advances for patients, like a longer life span. 

"What we are actually seeing is an increasing number of adults with CF and that's a success story," Willey-Courand said. "Now the median age is well into the 40s."


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Also, another advancement is the use of genetic modifiers to give CF patients a better quality of life. 

"What we are seeing on these patients who are on genetic modifiers is that they are not getting sick as often and the rate of decline of lung function is actually decreasing," Willey-Courand said.

While there is no cure for CF, the latest advancements and continued research are making the disease more tolerable to live with. 

For more information about CF, click here. 

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