Why St. Jude for my child's treatment for sickle cell disease?
St. Jude has been researching sickle cell disease since the hospital opened in 1962. The first research grant ever received by the hospital was for the study of sickle cell disease. Since that time, St. Jude has been involved in numerous research studies that have had a major impact on the treatment of sickle cell disease.
- In 1983, St. Jude pioneered bone marrow transplantation (BMT) as a cure for sickle cell disease. Because of this work, more research was done here (among other places), and today many people throughout the world no longer suffer with sickle cell disease. Although BMT is a cure, it is not an easy cure, and it has many complications. That is why St. Jude continues to research alternate approaches to BMT to cure children with sickle cell disease.
- St. Jude has five labs that perform research in sickle cell disease. In these labs, St. Jude not only performs basic research, but also use translational research to bridge the gap from the lab to the bedside.
- St. Jude is involved with many clinical research studies to investigate a variety of treatments for sickle cell disease; such as, the use of the drug, Hydroxyurea. Hydroxyurea boosts the level of fetal hemoglobin; studies have shown that patients with higher levels of this form of hemoglobin tend to have fewer symptoms of sickle cell disease.
St. Jude has a history of developing collaborative research partnerships with the NIH and other institutions throughout the world. In the past, some of these partnerships have led to major improvements in the treatment of children with sickle cell disease.
- Cooperative Study of Sickle Cell Disease (CSSCD): The CSSCD was designed to follow the natural clinical course of sickle cell disease in patients; from birth through adulthood. Much of the clinical information on sickle cell disease, in particular with respect to end-organ failure, has been derived from this study.
- Prophylactic Penicillin Studies I and II: This study led to newborn screening for infants with sickle cell disease. It showed giving penicillin to infants helped reduce the risk of death from infection. Before this study less than 14 states screened for sickle cell disease. Today all 50 states screen for sickle cell disease.
- STOP I & II: These studies established a method to determine whether a child was at increased risk for a stroke before symptoms occurred. One in ten children with sickle cell anemia is at risk for stroke.
- Hydroxyurea: St. Jude has participated in several trials evaluating the use of hydroxyurea in children with sickle cell disease. One of these multi-center studies determined it was safe to give hydroxyurea to children over 5 years of age. This study is the current rationale for the use of hydroxyurea in children with sickle cell disease.
This leadership, in the fight against sickle cell disease reflects the determination to find cures for diseases that strike children of all races and ethnic background. St. Jude will continue to fight until a safe and readily available cure is found for sickle cell disease.