The line everyone used had to do with "going out of business."
As in, "Maybe next year we'll have a going-out-of-business party."
Even, "We're just about out of business now."
However unrealistic those boasts--plenty, according to one informed guest--it was understandably wishful thinking for members of the Cystic Fibrosis Guild of Orange County, who tossed their seventh annual "Investors' Ball" Saturday at the Newport Beach Marriott.
This year, after decades of study, scientists isolated and cloned the gene that causes cystic fibrosis. The discovery represents the first step in finding a cure for a genetic defect that causes respiratory and digestive problems for an estimated 30,000 infants and youngsters, many of whom do not survive childhood.
"Scientifically, the pace is going to quicken," said Rich Mattingly, a vice president of the national Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Mattingly, who flew in for the weekend from foundation headquarters in Bethesda, Md., was among 50 VIPs at a pre-gala get-together in one of the hotel suites. He cautioned that the research road ahead was a long one. "But obviously this is a very exciting time for us," he said.