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DeVos Children's Hospital is a leading institution in cystic fibrosis research

Posted at 11:01 AM, May 22, 2023

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May is Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month and while there isn’t a cure for this disease, there have been major breakthroughs in treatment. Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital is one of the leading institutions in cystic fibrosis research and conducting state-of-the-art clinical trials right here in Grand Rapids.

Dr. John Schuen, Pediatric Pulmonary, and Sleep Medicine Physician at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, breaks down what cystic fibrosis is and the work DeVos Children's Hospital is doing to make breakthroughs in treatment.

According to the CDC, Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disorder that causes problems with breathing and digestion. People with CF have mucus that is too thick and sticky, which blocks airways and leads to lung damage, increases the chance of infections, and decreases the body's ability to absorb nutrients from food.

Helen DeVos Children's Hospital provides cystic fibrosis screenings for newborns. If a baby is diagnosed with CF, they treat proactively within days of diagnosis and birth; they make sure kids have the best outcomes for the best nutrition and lung function, allowing for fewer hospitalizations for the child in the long run.

Helen DeVos Children's Hospital is one of the only specialty research sites in Michigan running state-of-the-art clinical trials, as well as offering advances in treatments/therapies and medications. Whereas in the 1980s people lived into their 20s or 30s, patients can think about having families and live through retirement.

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