Sickle Cell Anemia is the most common genetic disease in the United States. It affects more than 80,000 people in America and the trait for the disease is known to be carried by one in 12 African Americans. For those living with the disease, suffering from a sickle cell crisis can be debilitating, reducing a person into a state of intense pain, which often means trips to the hospital that typically last six days. There are no known effective treatments for those who suffer from sickle cell crisis; patients can only take medication for the pain and receive transfusions and hydration therapy.
So what can be done? Rachel King, CEO of GlycoMimetics, reports that her company is investigating a new treatment that may reduce the intensity and duration of sickle cell crises, possibly leading to shorter stays in the hospital.
While the drug is only in its early development and clinical trials, in an interview with BIOtechNOW, King mentions three ways to move toward better treatments for this disease:
1. Policy makers need to address regulatory reform. This would help to improve the way the biomedical industry works with the FDA and it would increase communication between companies and the FDA.
2. The government should offer incentives for private investors to fund development projects for new drugs to treat diseases like sickle cell anemia. BIO has been a leader working towards these policy changes that could lead to breakthrough treatments.
3. Celebrate World Sickle Cell Day! By raising awareness of the disease, communities can promote the needs of patients, appeal for funding from public or private investors, or influence their local policy makers to take a stand.