Rotarian Don Davis was the speaker at our Sept 26 Rotary Luncheon at Purkey's Pink Apple.  Don spoke about a genetic deficiency of a protein called alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAT), which results in deterioration of lung function due to destruction of lung tissue with loss of elasticity of the lungs.  This is a rare genetic disorder passed down in families. The primary symptoms are shortness of breath and lots of bronchio infections.
Patients are treated by replacing their missing AAT by weekly infusions of Prolastin. While Prolastin slows down the progression of the disease, it is not a cure.  Some patients with severely compromised lungs can have double lung transplants and may do very well thereafter. 
Don emphasized that if you know someone with chronic lung problems, have them get a genetic blood test to see if they have AAT deficiency, so that they can take the Prolastin to slow down the progression of the disease.

Don Davis