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An exciting strategy for treating Sickle Cell Disease with Stem Cells

Updated on August 17, 2016

Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a blood disorder that is hereditary in nature. Therefore, parents who suffer from SCD are highly likely to pass on these genes to their children. However, this disease cannot be contracted through human contact and so is not a contagious disease.

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute states that ‘People with SCD have abnormal haemoglobin, called haemoglobin S or sickle haemoglobin, in their red blood cells.’ A child generally inherits SCD when they are born with two sickle haemoglobin genes that belong to each of the parents. In case a child only inherits one sickle haemoglobin gene, then they do not suffer from SCD but become carriers instead. However, they have a higher chance of being afflicted with urinary tract infections.

Red blood cells are usually round in shape and flexible, thus allowing them to quickly carry oxygen to all parts of the body. But, in case of SCD the red blood cells adopt a crescent-like shape, similar to a sickle, like its namesake. These blood cells are weak and can break easily which can then result in anaemia. SCD can also lead to a blockage in blood flow because these damaged blood cells tend to form a cluster and stick to the walls to the blood vessels. SCD can also cause severe damage to other organs of the body including the heart, kidneys, lungs, brain and liver.

NIH’s Clinical Centre in Bethesda, Maryland conducted extensive investigations to test an improved version of the stem cell transplantation process in adults with Sickle Disease. -. “Thirty patients, ages 16 to 65, with severe sickle cell disease enrolled in the study between 2004 and 2013. The patients first underwent a less toxic regimen to kill off some of their marrow cells. They then underwent a stem cell transplant, receiving cells donated by a healthy brother or sister." The results were optimistic where the team discovered that the disease had been reversed in 26 out of 30 patients.

Stem cell transplantation for Sickle disease is still very much at the experimental stage. However, with more and more successful clinical trials being conducted by the NIH, it looks very encouraging especially for mature and senior patients with an enhanced stage of the disease; a population that hasn’t seen an exciting development in quite some time. “Now, with this chemotherapy-free transplant, we are curing adults with sickle cell disease, and we see that their quality of life improves vastly within just one month of the transplant,” said Rondelli, Michael Reese, Professor of haematology in the College of Medicine. “They are able to go back to school, go back to work, and can experience life without pain.”

If you wish to learn more about -stem cells transplantations - then contact a Cordlife expert today.

Cordlife is an ISO 9001:2008 certified company which was started in May 2001 in Singapore. Their office in India is located in Kolkata; however, they provide stem cell storage and cord blood banking services all across the country. Following the accreditation received from AABB in 2013, Cordlife currently provides a storage capacity of more than 150,000 cord blood units.


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