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New drugs promise hope this World Sickle Cell Day


 

This winter, Shakir Cannon, a 34-year old passionate advocate for sickle cell disease research and education, died unexpectedly from a respiratory infection complicating his sickle cell disease. We knew each other from Twitter and he taught me both about sickle cell and his other strong interest, racial health disparities. It seems fitting to write about Shakir’s lessons and a look ahead at drug development for this rare disease, caused by a genetic mutation, for this World Sickle Cell Day.

 One of our shared concerns was pain control. Severe pain in sickle cell occurs when the abnormal red blood cells lose their elasticity, collapsing into the sickle shape and blocking blood vessels, depriving them of oxygen. This results in severe pain as seen with gangrene as well.

 

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