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Interview with Dr. Keith Wailoo on the journey of medical and social context in treating sickle cell disease


Keith Wailoo, Professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs is interviewed by Stephen Morrissey, Managing Editor at New England Journal of Medicine on Sickle cell disease.

Professer Wailoo has written a perspective article about the advances in understanding and treating sickle cell disease and about the challenges that remain.

The history of sickle cell disease has been marked by controversies over therapy prevention and funding. Despite recent developments in treating pain crisis and gene therapy, many patients still struggle to have their symptoms recognized and adequately addressed.

Professor Wailoo says, “For most of the 20th century, sickle cell disease was an invisible disease. Precisely, because it was so hard to clinically recognize, clinical recognition being crucial to actually addressing it. After all, here is a disease that caused early infant mortality in a time period when infant mortality and infectious disease mortality prevailed.”

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