Virginia Commonwealth University Research Finds New Treatment for Sickle Cell Disease

Drs. Safo and Danso-Danquah
Drs. Safo and Danso-Danquah

Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond are working on a promising new treatment for sufferers of sickle cell disease. 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.

The new treatment was developed by scientists at the Institute for Structural Biology and Drug Discovery, a joint effort of the School of Medicine and the School of Pharmacy at Virginia Commonwealth University. Among the team members who developed the new treatment are Martin Safo, an associate professor of medicinal chemistry and Richmond Danso-Danquah, an assistant professor of medicinal chemistry.

Clinical trials of the new compound will be conducted shortly. The trials are financed by a $5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

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