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Studies Assess Hydroxyurea Therapy and Pre-Operative Transfusions for Patients with Sickle Cell Disease
Date:12/11/2011

SAN DIEGO, Dec. 11, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Research assessing the safety and efficacy of hydroxyurea therapy in pediatric patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) and the use of pre-operative transfusions for patients with SCD who undergo low- and moderate-risk elective surgery will be presented today at the 53rd Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology.

An estimated 90,000 to 100,000 Americans are affected each year by SCD, a serious disorder that causes normal red blood cells to become rigid and form in a crescent "sickle" shape.[1] The abnormal shape of these cells causes them to clump together and become embedded in the blood vessels of organs, causing pain, infection, potential organ damage, and stroke. Even with advancements in drug therapies and prevention methods, safe and effective treatment options remain limited, especially for children and patients facing surgery who have an increased risk for complications.

"The studies presented today underscore the need to assess the quality and effectiveness of therapy for sickle cell disease, particularly in the pediatric population, and investigate the strategic use of pre-operative transfusion for sickle cell patients," said Susan B. Shurin, MD, moderator of the press conference and Acting Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in Bethesda, Md.  

Dr. Shurin, who has been instrumental in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) recent initiative to promote research advances in SCD, stated, "I am hopeful that discoveries like these, combined with continuing efforts to develop new treatments, share public health data, and provide evidence-based guidelines, will soon lead to significant improvement in the lives of patients with SCD." 

This press conference will take place on Sunday, December 11, at 10:00 a.m. PST.

Hydroxyurea Treatment of Young Children with Sickle Cell Anemia:  Safety
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SOURCE American Society of Hematology
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