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Sickle Cell Anemia

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The problem is that sickle cell anemia affects about 72,000 Americans in the United States. Sickle cell anemia is an inherited disease in which the body is unable to produce normal hemoglobin, an iron-containing protein. Abnormal hemoglobin can morph cells that can become lodged in narrow blood vessels, blocking oxygen from reaching organs and tissues. The effects of sickle cell anemia are bouts of extreme pain, infectious, fever, jaundice, stroke, slow growth, organ, and failure.

Sickle cell anemia hurts many people today in fact it hurts about 72,000 Americans. But some doctors are finding cures for this inherited disease. This disease causes mainly strokes and fever. With this disease a stroke is not predictable, a stroke can happen as early as a one month old as a baby. It can hurt a person really bad because it causes them to not be able to do many things like can't play sports, and things that gets your heart pumping because if the red blood cells gets clogged up it can causes a stroke because oxygen can't flow. Most Americans who have sickle cell anemia are of African descent. The disease also affects Americans from the Caribbean, Central America, and parts of South America, Turkey, Greece, Italy, the Middle East and East India. Since sickle cell anemia is an inherited disease if both parents have the trait for sickle cell, their baby's chances of having sickle cell disease is one in four.

Many doctors are trying to find cures for this disease by trying the solution on patients. Doctors at Emory University and University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Chicago. Doctors in Emory University in Atlanta credited an experimental stem cell transplant that for the first time is not from a related donor. This transplant cured the inherited disease from Keone Penn who is 13 years old from Georgia. He suffered a stroke at 5 years old and had a fever of 106 degrees, "I almost died" (Ferraro, Newspaper Article) What the doctors did was replaced the boy's bone marrow with stem cells taken from the umbilical cord blood of an infant not related to him. Dr. Ruby Bellevue of New York Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn has patient that he wants to do the transplant procedure on, but he is waiting for more studies to come out to see what the long-term effects are. Some effects could be rejection, complications, and/or death. For many years, doctors could only treat the sickle cell disease with blood transfusions and antibiotics. But until now, the only hope for a cure has been through bone marrow transplants, dangerous and rarely performed because they require a match between donor and the person receiving it. The good thing about stem cell transplants is does not require as precise a match. For Keone the 13 years old kid was worth it. "I am happy. This has been my wish my whole life, to not have sickle cell." (Ferraro, Newspaper Article) The doctors of University of Mississippi Medical Center use Doppler ultrasound to examine head and neck blood flow. The ultrasound measures the speed of the blood in the vessels. Early detection can help and decrease the risk of stroke.

The program involved in this problem is the National Institutes of Health declared September as Sickle Cell Awareness Month. The educational and research organization have promoted awareness of sickle cell disease, a group of inherited disorders characterized by anemia which means



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