Genetic diseaeses and the human genome

I actually have several questions. My best friend has Cistic Fibrosos (sp?). While it is a minor case (as he says), he has to take pills every time he eats as well as other pills for various other things (coughing, etc.). The thing is (from what I hear) he has a pretty normal life expectancy. Is that so? He is 19 now. I was just curious, first, what the life expectancy now is for people living with CF.

Next, I was curious if there are other genetic diseases that have a relatively low life expectancy, but the people that live with them live in relative comfort (as my friend does). Are all genetic diseases with a low life expectancies terribly uncomfortable?

Now, with the human genome being cracked, what is the future looking like with genetic diseases? Could my friend one day be cured? Or is it too far in the future for that?

Cystic Fibrosis is a difficult one. There are literally hundreds of documented mutations in the relevant gene that cause CF. On top of that, the severity of the diseases varies widely from case to case, and there’s very little correlation between severity and mutation. In a conference I attended this morning (how’s that for timing?) we were told that the median life expectancy was in the 30s, but if your friend has already been told he only has a minor case, his may be better - I don’t know enough to say if that conclusion would be justified or not.

As far as the human genome project, it does indeed hold promise for many diseases. The gene for CF was discovered in the 80s, so the HGP doesn’t contribute much to that specifically. But the ultimate CF goal would be gene therapy, where the mutated gene could be fixed. They’re working on it, but so far there hasn’t been much success.