Saturday, December 20, 2008


Researchers have finally identified the genetic address of Sickle Cell Disease. It’s BCL11A, that wonderful alphanumeric.

In a report from the National Institute of Health on Friday, December 19, 2008, they report, “Researchers have identified a gene that directly affects the production of a form of hemoglobin that is instrumental in modifying the severity of the inherited blood disorders sickle cell disease and thalassemia. The discovery could lead to breakthrough therapies for sickle cell disease and thalassemia, which could potentially eliminate the devastating and life-threatening complications of these diseases, such as severe pain, damage to the eyes and other organs, infections, and stroke."

This is only the beginning.

Researchers report that by suppressing the gene BCL11A, fetal hemoglobin (HbF) production could improve dramatically. They say, “New therapies targeting BCL11A would be the first to directly affect the natural processes involved in increasing HbF.”

They’re not there yet.

So, what does this mean? I don’t know, but what I do know is that if researchers can “target” the gene, then help is on the way.

I hope I live to see the day.


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