Children's Hospital Colorado

The Mike McMorris Cystic Fibrosis Research and Care Center

A boy with brown hair breathes out while his doctor watches in the background. Best Children's Hospital by US News Pulmonology 2020-1 Badge

The Mike McMorris Cystic Fibrosis Research and Care Center at Children's Hospital Colorado is one of the premiere cystic fibrosis (CF) clinical care and research centers in the country. The CF Center at Children’s Colorado delivers state-of-the-art care to people with CF, provides education for healthcare professionals and for families with CF and advances the field through clinical research. Learn more about cystic fibrosis.

Our center, established in 1990 and accredited by the National Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, is the largest CF clinical care center in the United States. Our pediatric program cares for more than 400 children and adolescents with CF throughout the Rocky Mountain region, and approximately 300 people with CF are seen at the adult program based at National Jewish Health.

Our program has outreach clinics in Colorado Springs and oversees an affiliate CF center in Montana. With our experience and advanced diagnostic capabilities, we also serve as a national referral center.

Why choose Children’s Colorado for treatment of cystic fibrosis (CF)?

Our multidisciplinary care team includes board-certified pediatric pulmonologists, CF clinical nurse specialists, registered dietitians, social workers, respiratory therapists and research coordinators, as well as administrative support staff. Additionally, our team collaborates with board-certified gastroenterologists and endocrinologists for our patients with CF-related liver disease and diabetes.

Our program has clinics that can see children with CF Monday through Friday. We offer both comprehensive inpatient and outpatient medical care.  Our program also consistently ranks as one of the top-performing CF centers in the country based on lung function data in our children and adolescents.

Additionally, our CF program has contributed in many ways to improving CF clinical care and advancing our knowledge through research:

  • Colorado was the first state in the country to perform newborn screening for CF.
  • Our successful implementation of statewide newborn screening, our findings of early nutritional abnormalities and our early nutritional and pulmonary treatments to prevent complications and slow disease progression have led to the nationwide adoption of newborn screening for CF.
  • Our center was one of the original members of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics Development Network, which conducts the early human clinical trials of potential treatments in CF.
  • Our program has established a CF Family Advisory Council, comprised of parents and clinical staff. The mission of the Family Advisory Council is to work as partners with the CF clinical care team to ensure excellence in the development and delivery of comprehensive and compassionate medical care for those with CF and their families in the Rocky Mountain region.
  • We consistently rank among the top enrolling centers for clinical trials in the country, which is a tribute to our families and our CF research staff.
  • We have participated in more than 75 multicenter clinical trials that have led to several current treatments for CF. We were the lead site and Dr. Frank Accurso was the national principal investigator for the phase two study of Kalydeco™ (formerly called VX-770) which is now FDA-approved for persons with CF ages 6 and older who have the G551D mutation.
  • Children's Colorado serves as a national referral and reference laboratory for sweat collection, sputum collection and inflammatory mediator analysis (measurement of proteins that contribute to lung inflammation and injury).

Services offered

We offer the following diagnostic services:

  • Sweat testing - Sweat is collected and analyzed in an accredited sweat testing laboratory.
  • Genetic analysis - Blood or cheek brushings can be collected and tested for CF disease-causing gene mutations.
  • Certified Nasal Potential Difference (NPD) - This test measures voltage in the nose and helps to clarify the diagnosis in ambiguous or possible cases of CF; it also is used as an outcome measure in CF clinical trials.
  • Sputum collection - We have a dedicated sputum induction room in our clinic to help collect mucus from children who do not routinely produce sputum. Sputum can then be analyzed for infection.
  • Microbiology laboratory - Our laboratory is certified by the College of American Pathologists (CAP), the principal agency that oversees microbiology laboratories in the U.S. The lab uses specialized culture media to isolate and characterize common organisms from the CF lung, including Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus and Burkholderia cepacia.
  • Fiberoptic bronchoscopy - to directly visualize the airways and collect mucus secretions from the lower airways for culture
  • Pulmonary function testing - including infant and toddler equipment
  • Cardiopulmonary exercise testing
  • Lung imaging - including chest radiographs and high-resolution computed tomography

CF patient shines in OneRepublic music video

OneRepublic's music video "I Lived" features our own cystic fibrosis patient, Bryan Warnecke. You'll be blown away by all the ways Bryan lives life to the fullest, despite the disease that affects his lungs and digestive system.

Cartoon image of a patient and doctor having a telehealth call.

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Get to know our pediatric experts.

Scott Sagel, MD, PhD

Scott Sagel, MD, PhD

Pulmonology - Pediatric

Emily Muther, PhD

Emily Muther, PhD

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Jennifer Lindwall, PhD

Jennifer Lindwall, PhD

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