Elliot Preddie, age 12, is ready to get back to his favorite sport, football. He had to put off playing due to sickle cell disease (SCD). Elliot substituted taekwondo and has already moved up to a blue belt.
Elliot was born with SCD, an inherited blood disorder. According to a recent report by Riley Children’s Health, Elliot’s stem cell transplant was a success, and he is cured of SCD.
SCD results in blockages that keeps blood from reaching various regions of the body. SCD can cause chronic pain, organ damage, stroke, lung disease, kidney disease, and severe infections. It is found primarily in African Americans and other minorities, but these groups are not represented in sufficient numbers in donor registries.
Approximately three thousand people in the U.S. die each year due to being unable to locate matching donors. Only a small percentage of African-Americans are successful in finding a match when their siblings or other related donors are not available.
Elliot’s doctors acknowledge that it was difficult to find matching blood and bone marrow for Elliot that would not cause an adverse response. The optimum donor is a matched sibling but in this case, Elliot’s male cousin was the half-matched donor.
Both Preddie Children Have SCD
Carter, Elliot’s-four-year-old brother was also diagnosed with SCD at birth.
Both boys are receiving treatment at the Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis. The brothers’ SCD symptoms vary somewhat. Elliot has had a series of silent strokes ever since he was three. He has been receiving blood transfers every month for the last five years.
His brother, Carter, has pain in his upper body and an enlarged spleen. Carter is on several “maintenance” medications. At this juncture, the doctors do not believe it is necessary for Carter to undertake the risk of a stem cell transplant.
Elliot has a noticeable scar on his head as a result of surgery for a rare cerebrovascular disorder called Moyamoya. The disease is caused by arteries situated at the base of the brain that are blocked. Although Elliot had been receiving monthly blood transfusions, the Moyamoya disorder presented a constant risk of stroke.
Finally a Cure for SCD
Prior to 2009 when doctors began successfully treating SCD patients, there were no available cures for the disease. Dr. Seethal Jacob, Director of Riley’s Pediatric SCD Program, said that stem cell transplants are the only established cure.
Dr. Jacob said the results of their transplants have been largely successful, and the patients continue to be monitored.
According to Dr. Jacob, adult SCD patients in the U.S. are now being enrolled in clinical trials involving gene therapy. Clinical trials testing gene therapy are not yet enrolling pediatric SCD patients.
Managing Two Children With SCD
The Peddries moved to Indianapolis several years ago to be near the boys’ doctors at Riley Children’s Hospital.
At times both children required attention. The day Elliot entered the hospital for his transplant, Carter came down with a high fever and was taken to the emergency room. Tremesha had to leave Elliot and rush to the emergency room to be with Carter.
Elliot was being treated with chemotherapy. The drugs weaken his immune system and decrease his white blood cell count. Before Tremesha could return to Elliot’s room, she had to engage in thorough sanitary measures to be certain that she was not taking any germs back to Elliot.
A Bright New Future for Elliot
Tremesha spoke of Riley Children’s Hospital in glowing terms. She believes that Riley is perhaps one of the top hospitals in the U.S.
Dr. Jacob added that Elliot came through the transplant well, and that his counts are in the process of recovering. The first test period would be at the end of the first year after surgery.
The doctor further explained that risk remains constant through the first five years and Elliot will be monitored during that period.