Sickle cell chimeras

less than 1 minute read

Many of us use sickle cell as an example in classes. I always do so while noting the progress that has been made in treating the condition in Westernized contexts – otherwise students walk away with a very misleading view of today’s medical situation for patients expressing the sickle trait.

The news today is full of a new advance in treatment – it’s stem cell transplants in bone marrow, and the new aspect is a better protocol for adult sufferers (children have benefited from these transplants for some time).

I’ll link to the research paper’s abstract instead of a news story:

Conclusions: A protocol for nonmyeloablative allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation that includes total-body irradiation and treatment with alemtuzumab and sirolimus can achieve stable, mixed donorrecipient chimerism and reverse the sickle cell phenotype.

You’ve got to like a treatment where the desired outcome is “chimerism.”