By Dr. Brian McDonough

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It does not get a great deal of attention but for the 70,000 people impacted and their families, cystic fibrosis is a life changing and shortening condition.

The problem in cystic fibrosis is that the transport of sodium and chloride across cells is affected and it can affect the way these cells work in the body – especially the liver. There have been many developments over the years to help people with cystic fibrosis and many have to do with therapy.

One medication, Ivacaftor, is being researched because it can help with that sodium and chloride transport. The studies are early but according to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine, there was a 17% lung improvement and people gained weight. Weight loss is a major issue for people with cystic fibrosis.

Reported By Dr. Brian McDonough, KYW Newsradio Medical Editor