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New treatment for babies with sickle cell anemia

Oral liquid hydroxyurea had shown good results when administered to babies with sickle cell// anemia.

Sickle cell anemia is one of the sickle cell disease. A sickle cell disease is often inherited. Sickle cell anemia is the condition where there is anemia and sickle cell hemoglobin is produced. Sickle cells can block small blood vessels and thus can cause damage and pain to the major organs like kidneys, spleen, and brain amongst others.

Researchers of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, US, have found out that treating babies with sickle cell anemia with administration of oral liquid hydroxyurea can prevent some of the complications generated by this disease. Hydroxyurea increases the generation of fetal hemoglobin. This can prevent the blood cells from becoming sickle cells. This method of treatment had been used currently to treat adults and older children with the disease.

Researchers have said that short-term liquid hydroxyurea therapy can be safe as well as effective in babies and may be given in increased dosage to young children in the age group of two to five years. The results have shown that after 4years of treatment the concentrations of fetal hemoglobin, hemoglobin and red blood cells have improved significantly in these children.

Reference: Blood, June 2005

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