Researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles have developed a new procedure the uses stem cells from the bone marrow of patients with sickle-cell disease to treat the disease. The researchers are planning to conduct clinical trials of the new procedure early next year.
Sickle cell disease causes the body to produce red blood cells that resemble the curved blade of a sickle. These cells hinder blood flow and reduce oxygen flow to the body.
This potential new treatment for sickle-cell disease is of particular interest to the African American community. While people of any race can have the sickle-cell trait, the disease is far more common among African Americans than it is among Whites. About one in every 400 African Americans is born with the sickle-cell trait.