WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sen. Mark Kirk is backing federal legislation that would step up research into the disease that killed his father.
The lung disease is called "pulmonary fibrosis." It causes lung tissue to become stiff and scarred, leaving it unable to transfer oxygen to the blood.
People with the disease usually die within three to five years of being diagnosed. Kirk says it kills about 48,000 people a year -- including his own father in 2008.
Kirk is co-sponsoring a bill creating a registry of pulmonary fibrosis patients that provide more data about the disease.
It also would require the Centers for Disease Control to come up with an education and awareness plan. The National Institutes of Health would be encouraged to do more research on the disease, which has no cure.