September is Sickle Cell Awareness Month. One aspect of which most aren't aware is that sickle cell anemia is being successfully treated with adult stem cells! In her recent Senate testimony, Dr. Jean Peduzzi Nelson described the case of Joseph Davis, Jr. Joe Jr. was born with severe sickle cell anemia. His parents were told that he probably wouldn't live to be a teenager. After a search for a matching bone marrow donor came up empty, they were able to use little brother Isaac's umbilical cord blood to successfully treat Joe Jr., who now leads a normal life. His brother literally saved his life with adult stem cells.
Sickle cell anemia is a serious, life-threatening blood disease. It causes pain, chronic anemia and tiredness, and can lead to severe infections, damage to organs including the heart, kidneys and lungs, stroke and death. About 1 in 500 African-Americans has sickle cell anemia. Adult stem cells are successfully treating sickle cell disease now. A 2007 report in the journal Blood described extremely successful results treating sickle cell disease with adult stem cells, noting that matched donor transplant
"is the only curative treatment for sickle cell disease.
A 2007 review in Bone Marrow Transplantation noted that:
Currently, hematopoietic SCT (HCT) is the only intervention that can restore normal hematopoiesis to provide a cure in sickle cell disease.
A 2008 published study led by Dr. Lakshmanan Krishnamurti at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh developed a gentler, easier technique for treating sickle cell anemia with adult stem cells. Dr. Krishnamurti said:
"This study offers hope for a cure to thousands of patients with severe sickle cell disease."
Adult stem cells are saving sickle cell patients now!