Researchers at the National Institute of Health (NIH) may have found a cure for sickle cell anemia. Clinical trials conducted at NIH using gene therapy on patients with sickle cell anemia. After a yearlong treatment, some patients have shown no trace of suffering from the disease.
Procedures That Patient Underwent at National Institutes Of Health
Just a few days ago British scientist announce that they were a step closer to curing HIV and now the announcement for the discovery for the possible cure of sickle cell anemia shows how far we have come
In the trial conducted at the National Institute Of Health, patients were required to undergo chemotherapy to weaken the immune system with regular blood infusions. After the immune system was weak enough, the patients were given a stem cell culture that had been infused with genetically modified HIV cells, in other words, the portion of DNA that made HIV dangerous was removed and replaced with DNA that produced normal red blood cells.
As the HIV virus is so effective in transferring DNA made it the best caudate for gene therapy. The objective was to transfer the gene that produced normal red blood cells into the cell and replace the defected gene and hence produce healthy blood cells. The trial lasted for a year and finally yielded good results.
Patients Response To The Result
Janelle Stephenson a patient who underwent gene therapy in the clinical trials is one of the many patients who participated. She was diagnosed with sickle cell disease at birth and was not expected to live past the age of five.
People that mostly suffer from sickle cell anemia are of African or Mediterranean as it helps fight malaria which is a prevalent disease in those parts.
While talking to the media Jennelle said that she was over the moon when she heard the good news of being cured. She said I could feel the change occurring. I’m so happy that now I can live a normal life with typical problems and all the problems like the sudden increase in pain while doing normal things is no more
Doctors Response To the Result
Dr. Francis Collins is director of the National Institutes of Health while talking to the media, said that we are excited and equally thrilled at the results but it’s still too early to say whether this is the perfect way to cure the disease. Trials using gene therapy has been conducted in the past for other diseases which have not ended well. So we need to wait for now and hope for the best