Experimental Drug Shows Long-Term Health Benefits To Sickle Cell Warriors

sickle cell red blood cells

Sickle Cell Disease affects approximately 100,000 Americans, a large percentage being Black.  If you or a loved one are fighting sickle cell disease, you are most likely curious about the latest progressions of treatments that will help manage your condition.

Though the fight for a true cure continues, according to a recent study, a new experimental drug, Voxelotor, reduced anemia and boosted the health of red blood cells in sickle cell patients. However, whether the drug will have long-term health benefits to patients remains to be seen.

If approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “people living with sickle cell disease might have a new, once-daily, tolerable oral medication that increases their hemoglobin level in the near future,” noted Dr. Banu Aygun, who wasn’t involved in the new trial, but is the Associate Chief of Hematology at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y.

“The disease is the result of a change in a single gene leading to the production of an abnormal hemoglobin called sickle hemoglobin [HbS],” Aygun said.

“Due to this abnormal hemoglobin, red blood cells take the shape of a sickle and die much sooner than normal red blood cells. The sickle cells block small blood vessels, causing pain and