The average life expectancy for people diagnosed with cystic fibrosis continues to increase.
The disease causes mucus in the body to become thick and sticky. In the 1960s, people with the disease were only expected to live to be five years old. Now on average, people live into their mid-to-late 30s.
New treatments are even making it possible for some people to live into their 40s and longer. A promising new drug actually corrects the problem within the cells that causes cystic fibrosis. The problem, only four percent of people with the disease respond to the drug.
Still, Sioux Falls Dr. James Wallace says this is a whole new ballgame for CF. There is one person in South Dakota who is able to take the drug.
"Everything you read and everything you hear is history, and what's going forward at this point is the new frontier of cystic fibrosis with the new technologies and treatments. With all the things that are being developed to improve the lifestyle, to make the health better for these patients with cystic fibrosis and everything," Wallace said.
Wallace says events like this weekend's CF Foundation's Great Strides Walk in Sioux Falls have made the new treatments possible. The Foundation has helped provide a lot of money for research.