One hundred million Americans have been diagnosed with sickle cell disease (SCD), many more of us have the trait but don’t know it. In addition to an array of new therapeutics, recent studies provide clinicians a deeper understanding of the attributes of red blood cells, which will positively impact our understanding of SCD as well as a range of other disease states, cardiovascular health and beyond.
Historically, sickle cell studies have been underfunded, while patients in crisis have been treated through a mantle of skepticism. Beverly Francis-Gibson, President and CEO of the Sickle Cell Association of America, points out that sickle cell patients visit the emergency room 15 times per year, on average. She elaborates, “We did a survey a few years ago and found that for families where there was a new diagnosis of sickle cell disease, it typically takes the family four years to literally stumble into finding the right treatment or the right providers.”