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Yale, UConn lead advances in sickle cell disease treatment

Dr. Elliott Vichinsky examines Derek Perkins at the sickle cell center at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland, where both adults and children with sickle cell disease receive care.
Jenny Gold/KHN
Dr. Elliott Vichinsky examines Derek Perkins at the sickle cell center at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland, where both adults and children with sickle cell disease receive care.

This hour on Where We Live, we hear from sickle cell disease experts at UConn Health and Yale on a successful transfusion therapy, and ongoing research that promises a full cure following a risk-reduced transplant.

And, we hear from a former pediatric patient, now 21,on her transplant and full cure.

Also, we discuss new drugs, gene therapy, and equitable access to care.

Sickle cell disease is an inherited disorder causing red blood cells to contort into a sickle shape, resulting in severe bone pain and fatigue. Complications include anemia, blood clots, organ damage, pulmonary hypertension, vision loss, and stroke.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 100,000 Americans are affected, and 1 in every 365 Black or African-American babies is born with sickle cell disease. And, 1 in 13 Black or African-American babies are born with sickle cell trait.

GUESTS: 

  • Rehana Konate: Student at the University of Connecticut; fully cured of Sickle Cell Disease
  • Dr. Niketa Shah: Director, Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Program, and Director, Pediatric Cellular Therapy Program, Yale Medicine
  • Teresa Works: Sickle Cell Social Worker, UConn Health

Where We Live is available as a podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. Subscribe and never miss an episode!

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Sujata Srinivasan is Connecticut Public Radio’s senior health reporter. Prior to that, she was a senior producer for Where We Live, a newsroom editor, and from 2010-2014, a business reporter for the station.
Lucy leads Connecticut Public's strategies to deeply connect and build collaborations with community-focused organizations across the state.