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Sickle Cell Disease

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NEWS
May 12, 1999 | THOMAS H. MAUGH II, TIMES MEDICAL WRITER
Genetic researchers have for the first time used high-tech reproductive techniques to remove the threat of sickle cell disease from an African American family's lineage. Using in vitro fertilization and genetic analysis on a single cell taken from 3-day-old embryos, a team from the Weill Medical College of Cornell University helped the couple conceive healthy twin girls who were neither sufferers of the lethal disease nor carriers of the defective gene that produces it.
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OPINION
July 19, 2013 | By Stefan Timmermans
This year marks the 50th anniversary of routine newborn screening in the United States. Since 1963, tens of millions of babies have had blood drawn from their heels to be tested for rare diseases. The program has unquestionably prevented tragedies. Screening for phenylketonuria, for example, has meant that newborns affected by the condition can be placed on a special diet in the first days of life, thereby preventing mental retardation. Screening for sickle cell disease, congenital hypothyroidism and some other rare conditions has saved lives as well.
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OPINION
January 14, 2002
Re "Woman With Sickle Cell Anemia Fights for Right to Grow Pot for Medicinal Use," Jan. 9: As the nation's oldest sickle cell disease social service agency, we struggle daily to bring the plight of people with sickle cell disease to the public's attention. It is this nation's most serious and prevalent genetic disorder, with over 70,000 people suffering its effects. We constantly battle with those in the media, entertainment industry and professional sports who tell us sickle cell disease is "too small," that their clients can't reap enough of a benefit from involvement with our foundation and the work we do for the sickle cell disease clients and their families.
NEWS
July 21, 2011 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times / for the Booster Shots blog
Researchers at De Montfort University, the University of York and Loughborough University in Britain have released a study suggesting that many students with sickle cell disease aren't getting the help they need from their schools.   Sickle cell disease is a rare, inherited blood condition - in the U.S., most prevalent in African Americans - that causes sufferers to develop abnormally shaped, "sickled" red blood cells that clog blood vessels and cause complications such as chronic severe pain, organ damage and sometimes stroke.
SCIENCE
March 24, 2010 | By Thomas H. Maugh II
African American children with sickle cell disease are at high risk of intellectual disabilities, hearing and vision deficits and frequent severe headaches, federal researchers said Tuesday. Children with the inherited disease are at least four times as likely as similar children without it to have fair or poor health status, twice as likely to have recently visited a mental health professional and more likely to have received special educational services, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
NEWS
April 12, 1990 | From The Washington Post
A widely used leukemia drug is showing promise as a treatment for sickle cell disease, the genetic blood disorder that afflicts an estimated 50,000 black Americans and has so far defied all attempts at effective treatment. In a preliminary study published in today's issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, scientists from the National Institutes of Health report seven of 10 severely affected sickle cell patients treated with the drug, called hydroxyurea, showed significant improvements.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 6, 1995 | LISA M. BOWMAN
The Sickle Cell Disease Research Foundation is providing free confidential testing and counseling for parents of infants identified with the sickle-cell trait. A baby born with the trait will not develop the disease, but can pass it on to offspring if he or she mates with another carrier. If both parents have the trait, there is a 25% chance that future infants will be born with sickle-cell disease. People with sickle-cell disease have abnormally shaped red blood cells and poor circulation.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 12, 2010 | By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times
Dr. Harvey Itano, whose studies on sickle cell disease marked the first time that a disease had been linked to a specific molecular defect and who later became the first Japanese American elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, died May 8 in La Jolla. He was 89 and had Parkinson's disease. Itano was a senior at UC Berkeley when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor; in early 1942, he and his family were sent to the Tule Lake internment camp in Northern California, a reaction to the fear following the sneak attack that prompted the United States to enter World War II. He was unable to attend his graduation that summer but his grades made him class valedictorian, and then- UC President Robert Gordon Sproul personally awarded him the medal honoring his achievement.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 12, 1996
Activist and comedian Dick Gregory, satirist Paul Mooney and the Mooney Twins will perform at 8 p.m. tonight at Marla Gibb's Vision Theater, 3341 W. 43rd Place, Leimert Park. The benefit will raise funds to buy a hemp oil press used to produce hempseed oil for use by sickle cell disease patients. Advance tickets are $20 and $50. Information: (213) 293-7552.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 15, 1990 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Scientists reported last week they have created mice with a disorder resembling sickle cell disease, an advance that may remove a major obstacle to developing treatments for the disorder affecting up to 100,000 Americans. A British research team said it has genetically engineered a strain of mice to contain the defective hemoglobin found in blood cells of humans with sickle cell disease. Hemoglobin is a complex compound responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body.
NEWS
May 13, 2011 | By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times/For the Booster Shots blog
Hydroxyurea, the cancer drug long used for treating sickle cell disease in adults and adolescents, is just as effective and safe for treating the disease in infants under the age of 19 months, according to a major new study to be published Saturday. The new findings suggest that physicians should begin using the drug in infants as soon as they begin showing signs of the disease. "There are now strong reasons for healthcare professionals to consider starting children who have sickle cell disease as early as possible with hydroxyurea," said Dr. Susan B. Shurin, acting director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, which sponsored the six-year study.
NEWS
April 27, 2011 | By Marissa Cevallos, HealthKey
Rare diseases are likely to get more attention now that an international consortium of patient advocacy groups and research funders has vowed to deliver 200 new therapies by 2020 . For people with these diseases, such attention must seem long overdue. Drug companies currently don't have much incentive to develop drugs for diseases that affect fewer than 200,000 people, but almost 7,000 rare diseases exist  affecting a total of about 25 million Americans. Many are caused by mutations in a gene. The National Institutes of Health is opening a center in the fall to translate research findings in genetics to usable therapies, the Associated Press reports .   The NIH already has grant programs to spur research in rare diseases.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 12, 2010 | By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times
Dr. Harvey Itano, whose studies on sickle cell disease marked the first time that a disease had been linked to a specific molecular defect and who later became the first Japanese American elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, died May 8 in La Jolla. He was 89 and had Parkinson's disease. Itano was a senior at UC Berkeley when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor; in early 1942, he and his family were sent to the Tule Lake internment camp in Northern California, a reaction to the fear following the sneak attack that prompted the United States to enter World War II. He was unable to attend his graduation that summer but his grades made him class valedictorian, and then- UC President Robert Gordon Sproul personally awarded him the medal honoring his achievement.
SCIENCE
March 24, 2010 | By Thomas H. Maugh II
African American children with sickle cell disease are at high risk of intellectual disabilities, hearing and vision deficits and frequent severe headaches, federal researchers said Tuesday. Children with the inherited disease are at least four times as likely as similar children without it to have fair or poor health status, twice as likely to have recently visited a mental health professional and more likely to have received special educational services, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
SCIENCE
December 10, 2009 | By Thomas H. Maugh II
Researchers have for the first time performed a successful bone marrow transplant to cure sickle cell disease in adults, a feat that could expand the procedure to more of the 70,000 Americans with the disease -- and possibly some other diseases as well. About 200 children have been cured of sickle cell with transplants, but the procedure was considered too harsh for adults with severe sickle cell disease. Now a team from the National Institutes of Health and Johns Hopkins University is reporting today in the New England Journal of Medicine that it has developed a much-less-toxic transplant procedure and used it to cure nine of the first 10 patients studied.
HEALTH
December 11, 2006 | Lem Satterfield and Bill Ordine, Baltimore Sun
Lester Gregory, slender and serious, sat on a hospital gurney, two long tubes extending into each of the 15-year-old's lean arms. Where a needle pierced the soft inside of his right elbow, fresh whole blood coursed into his veins: good blood to stave off anemia and invigorate him. From his left arm, clumpy, sickle-celled blood flowed into a large bag to be discarded.
NEWS
March 5, 1995 | LUCILLE RENWICK
Marc Hull was too young to remember his first sickle cell crisis. It was Jan. 3, 1979, and he was 18 months old. He had a temperature of 107, his mother, Melva Leflores, recalled. He was near death, suffering from a host of related complications: blood and bone infections, salmonella and pneumonia.
NEWS
December 17, 2001
Reported in Gene Trial Scientists have cured sickle-cell disease in a strain of mice by using a powerful gene therapy method that can replace nearly all diseased blood cells with healthy ones. Patients with sickle-cell disease have blood cells that deform when oxygen levels are low, creating painful blockages of blood vessels and producing organ damage. Researchers from Harvard University and MIT reported in the Dec. 14 issue of Science that they used a modified virus to treat the disease.
HEALTH
January 2, 2006 | From Times wire reports
Some patients with severe sickle cell disease may need a lifetime of blood transfusions to reduce the chances of suffering a stroke. Scientists had hoped that patients with the blood disease could be treated with a limited number of transfusions. But a new study of 100 children, published in the Dec. 29 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, found that the stroke risk reappeared after blood exchanges were stopped.
SCIENCE
December 31, 2005 | Delthia Ricks, Newsday
Scientists in New York have developed a gene therapy they say may cure two pervasive blood disorders, and the first round of human trials is expected to begin within six months. Sickle cell disease and thalassemia are related genetic disorders typified by red blood cells that are incapable of effectively transporting oxygen. The diseases affect tens of thousands of people worldwide, and can prove fatal.
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