According to a story from Sickle Cell Anemia News, the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital just received $1 million in grant funding from The Links Foundation, which is one of the largest African-American women’s volunteer groups in the U.S. The funding will go towards three separate initiatives at the hospital that are focused on sickle cell disease. This will be the fifth grant that The Links Foundation has donated.
Sickle cell disease is a number of blood disorders that are usually genetically inherited. The most common type is sickle cell anemia, which results from an abnormal change to the hemoglobin that is found in red blood cells. This can cause cells to take on a rigid, sickle-like shape under the right conditions. Sickle cell disease is usually detected early in life, with the first effects appearing at around six months of age. Symptoms include acute episodes of pain (called sickle cell crisis), stroke, frequent bacterial infections, anemia, and swelling of the hands and feet. People of African background are more likely to have sickle cell disease. A variety of external conditions can be triggers for a pain episode. While there are a variety of treatment measures for patients, and a small number can be cured with bone marrow transplant, patients with sickle cell disease have a reduced lifespan of 40 to 60 years. To learn more about sickle cell disease, click here.
The St. Jude hospital has played an instrumental role in the research and treatment of sickle cell disease over the years. The organization began researching pediatric sickle cell disease when it first opened its doors in 1962. It was also the first hospital to successfully cure a child with the illness using bone marrow transplant.
The money will go towards three projects operated by the hospital that are dedicated to sickle cell. One will be a study that will examine the nature of cognitive issues that occur in children with the illness. St. Jude also plans to develop a mobile app that will help educate patients about their disease and give them the knowledge they need to monitor their illness closely. The hospital is also developing a community care provider education program in order to provide informed advice and counsel to the parents of children with sickle cell living in Nigeria.
This grant will be a much appreciated funding resource for these essential initiatives.