Are Stem Cell Transplants the Future of Treatment for Sickle Cell Anemia?

Have you ever tried to fit a square peg into a round hole? Short of taking a mallet to the peg, you’re not going to be successful in pushing it through.

Sickle cell anemia, in a way, is like that.

Normal red blood cells are round and slippery, allowing them to pass easily through the veins, arteries, and down to the tiniest capillaries. When a person has sickle cell anemia, a genetic condition passed down from both parents, some of the red blood cells become sickle-shaped. Think of a little hook on the end of the now-elongated cell. These cells don’t move through the body very easily. Instead, they get stuck inside small blood vessels and prevent oxygen from circulating throughout the body.

To date, there is no cure for sickle cell anemia, but that may be about to change.

One pioneering hospital in Canada is treating patients with stem cell transplants, and the results have been promising.

One patient, who had previously had to have monthly blood transfusions, received stem cells from her sister. Without that perfect, one-in-five match, the transplant would have been too risky to perform.

The patient is now free from her monthly transfusions.

Wayne Brady approves! Source: giphy

This is a reason for all with sickle cell anemia to have hope.

They know all too well the complications that can result from the condition, such as stroke, leg ulcers, high blood pressure, and blindness, to name a few.

If you would like more information on available treatment options, click here.

Erica Zahn

Erica Zahn

Erica Zahn is passionate about raising awareness of rare diseases and disorders and helping people connect with the resources that may ease their journey. Erica has been a caregiver, and is a patient, herself, so she completely relates to the rare disease community--on a deeply personal level.

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