Laying Siege to A Deadly Gene

Thanks to a series of breakthroughs, doctors are closing in on a cure for cystic fibrosis

Brianna Oas has never drawn an easy breath. When she was a baby, her tiny chest convulsed at the slightest irritation. Instead of laughing, she would cough; instead of crying, gag. She succumbed to an endless string of , respiratory infections -- pneumonia, a cold, bronchitis, pneumonia again -- that ordinary antibiotics seemed powerless to curb. Diagnosed with a "failure to thrive," Brianna weighed less at one year than she did at six months. Finally, last August, just after the child's third birthday, her anxious parents took her to the University of Washington pulmonary clinic in Seattle. Chest X rays revealed...

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