There might be fresh hope for those suffering from sickle cell anemia. A Canadian woman recently underwent a bone marrow transplant, with stem cells from her sister being transplanted into her. Doctors have now confirmed her sickle cell is cured. She’s the first Canadian adult to ever beat sickle cell after undergoing this procedure, and the findings as she recovers are raising hopes across the medical community that there might be a proven treatment method to help other patients battling the disease.
Until very recently, sickle cell anemia patients were thought to be unable to tolerate a bone marrow transplant. This is because the first step of such a transplant involves using chemotherapy techniques to kill the bone marrow in the patient recipient. With their natural marrow eliminated, fresh bone marrow is implanted from a compatible donor, and restarts the patient’s ability to generate their own healthy red blood cells.
Sickle cell anemia is a disease that causes a mutation in how the patient’s natural red blood cells are formed. They’re produced in a sickle shape, and this shape can cause blood vessels to become clotted and clogged. Which impacts the ability of organs to sustain proper blood flow, which can cause necrotic damage as tissue begins to die within the patient. By implanting donor marrow, patients can avert the genetic damage that causes their disease, and live a healthy life.
Finally there’s hope for those with sickle cell anemia. A bone marrow transplant can cure you. #HealthStatus
- 1Bone marrow stem cell treatment could be the cure for sickle cell anemia.
- 2National Institutes of Health 2014 study reports that 26 out of 30 patients who had bone marrow transplants reversed the disease.
- 3Currently there are only two drugs to treat sickle cell: hydroxyurea and Endari.