During National Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Month, we stand with those fighting sickle cell disease (SCD) and reaffirm our Nation’s commitment to finding a cure for this group of hereditary red blood cell disorders.
SCD is a debilitating condition that affects more than 100,000 Americans of all ages by slowing or blocking blood flow, causing pain and progressive organ damage, and reducing life expectancy. While the disease disproportionately affects African Americans, other racial and ethnic groups can also be affected. Bone marrow and stem cell transplants are the only current forms of treatment with the potential to cure this disease. These procedures have a high disease-free survival rate, but it can be difficult to find a matching donor.
My Administration is committed to supporting research to develop a cure to SCD that is available to all people, expanding on the achievements of current treatment options. Clinical trials to accelerate the development of new gene and cell-based therapies within the next 5 to 10 years will be conducted as part of the National Institutes of Health’s Cure Sickle Cell Initiative, which will launch this month. Additionally, we are working to better train healthcare providers to identify individuals with SCD and improve the quality and continuity of their care from infancy through adulthood. As a result of the many advances and medical breakthroughs in genetic therapies and research, we are now closer to finding a cure for all SCD patients.
This month, we celebrate the progress made in treating Americans suffering from SCD and renew our commitment to end this disease.