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Research Identifies Need for Improved Understanding of Sickle Cell Disease in Adulthood
Date:12/8/2007

- Additional Data Show the Standard Treatment for Sickle Cell Disease is Widely Under-Prescribed in Some Populations -

ATLANTA, Dec. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- New research to be presented at the 49th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology in Atlanta, GA, will provide important insight into the treatment and management of sickle cell disease and thalassemia, both disorders of the red blood cells. Specifically, data will be presented on advancements in iron chelation therapy, treatments necessary for patients who require multiple blood transfusions because of the risk of excess iron. Researchers will also unveil new findings about brain damage in sickle cell patients, a complication of the disorder that can occur as patients age. Additionally, retrospective and prospective trials among Florida Medicaid populations and patients in Nigeria, an area with the highest global burden of sickle cell disease, will show the need for physician education to address the underutilization of hydroxyurea, which is an efficacious treatment associated with a significant reduction in sickle cell complications, hospitalizations, and transfusion requirements by about 50 percent and in mortality by 40 percent. A press conference revealing this new research will take place Saturday, December 8, from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

"Sickle cell disease, once considered a fatal pediatric condition, is now a chronic adult illness. As physicians, we need to better understand how to treat sickle cell patients from childhood through their adult life," said press conference moderator Marilyn Telen, MD, Division Chief of Hematology, Duke University, Durham, NC. "Further, by understanding how to effectively mitigate the consequences of multiple transfusions, particularly iron overload, we can better serve a broad range of patients who suffer from red blood cell disorders."

-- Hydroxyurea, a highly efficacious treatment for sickle cell patients, is underutili
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SOURCE American Society of Hematology
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