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East Lancashire woman with cystic fibrosis running half marathon
A Ribble Valley woman with cystic fibrosis is running a half-marathon to try and fund crucial research into her condition.
Sophie Longton, 24, was diagnosed with CF, the UK’s most common life-threatening inherited disease, at the age of eight.
It is caused by a defective gene that clogs internal organs, especially the lungs and digestive system, with thick sticky mucus, leading to chronic infections and difficulty digesting food.
Sophie interviewed scientists working with human DNA to treat diseases when she was chosen to take part in an episode of the BBC documentary Horizon last year.
But now she fears their groundbreaking work will go to waste.
The academic mentor at Mount Carmel High School, Accrington, said: “I went on an incredible, inspirational journey with the BBC.
“This gave me so much hope that one day soon gene therapy will become a reality and there will be a cure, or a good form of treatment.
“But less than a year after the documentary was on TV, the research is on hold due to a funding shortfall.”
Currently there is no cure for CF. The average life expectancy of a sufferer is 37.
The Gene Therapy Consortium has completed a single dose pilot study.
It is ready to conduct phase two, which will involve a multi-dose clinical trial, but £6million is needed for it to go ahead.
Sophie, of Woodhead Road, Read, said: “If these trials don't go ahead, then how will we ever know if it will work?”
Sophie and her university friends have entered Run to the Beat in London next Sunday to raise money for the research.
She said: “It will be the furthest I have ever run and will be a real challenge, but I know how important it is to raise the money.
"I am on a course of intravenous antibiotics to clear my lungs so I will be in the best possible shape to complete the run, which means my treatments are taking over four hours per day.”
You can donate to the cause at the website below.
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