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, a St. Jude patient was the first in the world to be cured of sickle cell disease through a bone marrow transplant. Today, many people throughout the world no longer suffer with sickle cell disease. Although a transplant 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 cure children with sickle cell disease.
- St. Jude faculty perform innovative laboratory research on sickle cell disease and other blood disorders. In these labs, St. Jude not only conducts basic research, but also uses 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 use of hydroxyurea. This drug 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 also develops collaborative research partnerships with the NIH and other institutions throughout the world.