Efforts to enhance therapy for children and adults with sickle cell disease (SCD) have proven more challenging than might have been predicted from the fact that an understanding of the underlying pathogenesis antedated that of many other diseases for which good treatments presently exist. The multi-organ injury that occurs with SCD certainly contributes to this clinical reality. Research over decades indicates that the primary defect in hemoglobin that results in polymerization of the protein under low oxygen conditions and resultant cellular deformity of the red blood cell initiates a complex downstream pathogenesis associated with vascular injury and organ ischemia. Deciphering this in a manner that informs successful therapies that improve all target organs continues to challenge hematologists. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) is dedicated to support research across the basic science, translational and clinical spectrum to achieve these clinical outcomes. The following provides a brief summary of the research strategies which NHLBI is presently supporting and will support in the future to enhance care and ultimately, to effect cure of this hemoglobin disease that causes such suffering to those who inherit this monogenic disease.
Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.