As most of the CF world is probably aware of by now, the vertex drug developed for DDF508 has a good chance of becoming available to patients this July. Everyone in the CF community was hopeful this drug targeting DDF508 would be a life changing miracle drug just like Kalydeco was for people with the G551D mutation. Unfortunately, the results of the study quickly dashed many of our dreams that this drug would be our miracle drug.
As much as I am disappointed that Orkambi, which will work on my mutation, is not the life changing and life extending drug that Kalydeco is for a select few with CF. I can say I am beyond excited, despite having all the facts, that we may have another medication that could potentially help slow the progression of my disease. When you live with a progressive disease new treatments are never developed fast enough. In fact, discoveries to treat CF are far and few between. And even when therapies are developed I have found myself allergic and unable to take advantage of many of these medications and treatments. The progression of the disease is always three steps ahead of the treatment and watching your lungs and body deteriorate is heartbreaking at best. It development of treatments are very much a matter life or death for so many with CF. This is why I have to roll my eyes at the naysayers that complain about the humble 3% increase in lung function that were seen in the Orkambi study.
What the naysayers don't realize is that 3% may not seem clinically significant, the truth is that the drug is so much more than 3% increase (on average) in lung function. It is the fact that is can slow the guaranteed progression of this disease. That is something that can not be taken lightly. To me, it means I may have a few more years added to the end of my life to watch my daughter turn into a woman. It may mean one or two more anniversaries I spend with my husband. It may mean another birthday and a few more grey hairs. So yes, 3% may not seem like a big deal to someone who hasn't had an expiration date stamped to their lungs. It may not seem like 3% could change a life, but pessimists are stuck on a low percentage and not the potential for what slowing, even minutely, can do to a life. How a few years can mean so much to a mother, a wife, a sister, a friend who would do anything to hold on to their life for just a little longer.
So yes, lets celebrate the accomplishment of the researchers, the foundation, the CF community that we may (as long as the FDA gives the okay this July) have one more tool in our fight again CF, we may have a little more hope for tomorrow, and we may have a little more time on this Earth.