Sickle Cell Disease

For patients with sickle cell disease and other red blood cell disorders, our emphasis is on preventing disease-related and treatment-related complications. We work to ensure that pain is adequately managed so that patients can maintain a good quality of life. We also work closely with the City of Hope Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation Program when needed.

 

WHAT IS SICKLE CELL DISEASE?

Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder where a gene mutation causes normal red blood cells to take on a crescent shape, resembling a sickle. This abnormal shape makes it difficult for red blood cells to move easily and carry oxygen through the body. 

There are several types of sickle cell disease, including hemoglobin SS, also known as sickle cell anemia, which is the most severe type of this disorder. Other common types are hemoglobin SC, which is milder, and sickle beta thalassemia.

Sickle cell disease affects around 100,000 people in the United States, most of whom are African-American. 

 

TREATING SICKLE CELL DISEASE

Depending on the severity of a patient’s disease manifestation, treatment options range from medications like hydroxyurea and other newly licensed products to blood transfusions, red blood cell exchanges and, in some cases, hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. At City of Hope, we tailor our treatment plans specifically to each patient’s unique needs.

Our sickle cell disease program offers several unique features that allow our patients to receive treatment in a more efficient and less invasive manner. Because we have our own donor apheresis center blood bank, our patients don't have to travel to another hospital for transfusions and, most times, the process can be completed in one day. In addition to this ease of treatment, our donor apheresis nurses have a high level of expertise that allows them to perform this procedure without implanting a port-a-cath.

When a child with sickle cell disease begins treatment at City of Hope, we are there to provide support and treatment until he or she reach 21 years of age, at which time we help transition his or her care to an adult treatment center  to continue care throughout life.