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  1. “The Dope Science Show” Talks Xickle for Sickle Cell Awareness Month

    September 25, 2017 by Andrea
    Dope Science Show

    Photo: CreateHer Stock

    A few months ago, Dr. Eric Coles -- co-owner of Xickle RBC-Plus -- sat down with Stephany of "The Dope Science Show" to discuss sickle cell disease, how natural ingredients can be used to lessen SCD crises, and what advice he'd give to aspiring scientists, among other things. And just in time for Sickle Cell Awareness Month, Dr. Coles's episode has dropped.

    Currently, Dr. Coles is working with his business partner Dr. Robert Swift developing a new drug for the treatment of sickle cell. SCD-101, as it's called, is the drug formulation of the current supplement (Xickle RBC-Plus) and has completed Phase l clinical trials, published those results (Click to read the article in the Journal Blood) and is currently in Phase ll clinical trials right now. The science of this development isn't all that new, though; it's actually based on Niprisan/Nicosan -- the drug used to treat sickle cell in Nigeria that, unfortunately, is no longer on the market.

    "That's kinda the sad part of the story," Dr. Coles says. Apparently, back in 2003, the Nigerian version of the FDA approved the drug in Nigeria and licensed Niprisan to a U.S.-based pharmaceutical development company for the purpose of producing the drug as an FDA-approved one. But, before the U.S. company could develop anything, it went bankrupt. Around the same time, in Nigeria, the bank foreclosed on the facilities that produced Niprisan. All those with sickle cell that were taking Niprisan could not longer get their treatment. 

    Soon after, Dr. Swift, decided to take on the development of Niprisan himself. He did so alone from 2009 to 2011, when Dr. Coles joined him. Together, they have improved the formulation with more anti-sickling activity and have commenced clinical trials. So far the results have been excellent.

    Listen to the entire podcast below to learn even more:

  2. New Drug Approval for Sickle Cell is Just the Beginning

    July 11, 2017 by Andrea
    Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

    Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

    After more than 20 years of waiting, a new drug for the treatment of sickle cell was finally approved by the FDA on Friday (July 7, 2017), bringing the total to two (the other being Hydroxyurea). Developed by Emmaus Medical, the new drug Endari uses the amino acid L-glutamine to help reduce the occurrence of cell sickling in warriors ages 5 and older. The FDA reports that side effects for Endari include constipation, nausea, headache, abdominal pain, chest pain, back pain, coughing, and pain in the extremeties.

    In a recent interview with NBC BLK, Dr. Alexis A. Thompson, head of Hematology at the Ann and Robert H. Lurrie Children's Hospital of Chicago, said, "I am hoping we are finally seeing channels opening and that this will be the first of many new drugs to hit the market [for sickle cell disease]."

    And it appears Dr. Thompson's hope is indeed on its way to becoming reality. For one thing, SCD-101, our own new drug for sickle cell, is currently undergoing clinical trials. So far, the response has been highly encouraging -- the "Blood" journal has recognized SCD-101's ability to reduce cell sickling, increase exercise ability, and improve sleep and ulcer healing. And, as of yet, there have been no side-effects discovered. Even better, the supplement form of SCD-101 known as Xickle is available for use now.

    Nature.com reports that a slew of other sickle cell drugs are in development now, as well, which is incredibly encouraging. Having options for sickle cell treatment is important for many reasons: Every person's body does not react to every drug in the same way and certain health insurance plans may only cover certain sickle cell drugs, just to name a couple.

    This is just the beginning of a potentially huge deluge of breakthroughs and treatments for sickle cell -- treatments that can ensure that warriors of all ages receive the medicines they need to live long, healthy, happy, lives.

  3. “Immortal” BEL-A Cell Line is a Huge Breakthrough for Blood Transfusions

    May 9, 2017 by Andrea

    petri dish

    Last year, we talked about the potential of artificial blood being created and used to give blood transfusions to those in need when supplies of donated blood fall short. Since then, there has been an exciting new development in this technological space: An immortal stem cell line -- the first of its kind ever -- has been produced, allowing scientists to engineer an unlimited supply of artificial red blood cells whenever they're needed.

    Known as BEL-A (Bristol Erythroid Line Adult), these "immortal" cells were created by researchers at the University of Bristol in the UK using blood from volunteers who donated for the purpose of this study. Science Alert reports, "To create these 'immortal' cells, [the researchers] effectively trapped the adult stem cells in an early stage of development, which means they can divide and create red blood cells forever without dying, which avoids the need for repeat donations." Such findings will enable scientists to more easily and quickly harvest and maintain large amounts of red blood cells.

    The purpose of red blood cells is to carry oxygen throughout the body -- this is especially important for sickle cell warriors, as sickled red blood cells can disrupt this flow and block blood vessels, causing pain and potentially, a crisis. "Cultured red blood cells provide such an alternative and have potential advantages over donor blood, such as reduced risk of infectious disease transmission, and as the cells are nascent, the volume and number of transfusions administered to patients requiring regular transfusions (sickle cell disease, thalassaemia myelodysplasia, certain cancers) could be reduced, ameliorating the consequences of organ damage from iron overload," explains a recent article from Nature Communications.

    Clinical trials for the artificial blood created by BEL-A cells are expected to begin by the end of 2017. If everything goes well and the product is proven safe and effective in humans, it can begin being used to treat people in need all over the world.

  4. Clinical Trial Update: Our Product Has Been Recognized as an Effective Treatment for SCD

    April 18, 2017 by Andrea


    It's been two years since we first announced we'd be launching clinical trials for SCD-101, the drug equivalent of our supplement Xickle RBC-Plus. A necessary part of our journey toward FDA-approval, the initial phase of our clinical trial has already demonstrated the effectiveness of Xickle on patients with sickle cell disease.

    In fact, in the December 2016 issue of Blood, the American Society of Hematology’s weekly medical journal, an article was published illustrating the initial successes of our trial. The feature, “SCD-101: A New Anti-Sickling Drug Reduces Pain and Fatigue and Improves Red Blood Cell Shape in Peripheral Blood of Patients with Sickle Cell Disease,” points out that participants in phase one of the trial not only showed reduced occurrences of cell sickling, but also reported an increase in exercise ability, as well as improved sleep and ulcer healing, leading the researchers to conclude that SCD-101 is a “promising new drug for the treatment of sickle cell disease.”

    Fast forward a few months, and because of the success of the initial round, we are now preparing to enter the next phase in our dose-escalation study: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover. Here’s how it’ll work: Participants will be randomized to two treatments—placebo and SCD-101. Some will receive 28 days of the placebo first, followed by 28 days of SCD-101, while others will receive the drug first, followed by the placebo. This method helps compare the two treatments using a relatively small sample size. To ensure accuracy, a 28-day “washout” period—when clinical trial participants are completely taken off a study treatment for a set amount of time—will follow each 28-day treatment period. This just guarantees that there will be no “carry-overs” or leftover effects of the first treatment into the second one.

    This next phase of the trial will continue to test the safety and effectiveness of escalating doses of SCD-101—things like changes in sleep and exercise activity, pain incident and pain reliever usage, fatigue symptoms, and of course, sickling frequency. We expect to continue to see positive reactions from sickle cell warrior participants.

    The best news, though? While FDA approval for the official drug development of SCD-101 may take another four years, you can purchase and use SCD-101 in its supplement form, Xickle RBC-Plus. With no known toxicity, Xickle helps prevent sickling in both children and adults. Why wait to get started?

    For even more info on Xickle RBC-Plus/SCD-101, check out the video below:

  5. Gene Therapy Reverses French Teen’s Sickle Cell

    March 7, 2017 by Andrea
    Photo: OpenStax College [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

    Photo: OpenStax College [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

    No doubt your Twitter feed has been flooded with the news that recently broke about a French teenager whose sickle cell disease has been reversed due to gene therapy. Read on to find out how it all happened.

    Until about 15 months ago, the then-13-year-old French boy (whose name has not yet been released) had to return to the hospital monthly for blood transfusions to treat his sickle cell. And as the BBC reports, this boy's internal damage was so bad, he'd already had his hips replaced and his spleen removed.

    Then, doctors had the idea to try an experimental treatment on the boy, in which they would remove his bone marrow and genetically alter it, theoretically correcting the gene mistake that causes sickle cell. "By using a virus to insert genes for the correct form of [hemoglobin protein] into the bone marrow ... researchers have been able to restore the elasticity to the patient's blood," explains Science Alert. Afterwards, the bone marrow was returned to the patient's body to see if, in fact, the gene therapy would prompt the marrow to generate normal red blood cells.

    It worked, and so far, so good.

    Since the teen's operation, he's shown no signs of SCD whatsoever, and as a result, his hospital visits and medications have ceased. While far from a cure, though -- since this procedure has only been done, albeit successfully, on one person -- it does show how gene therapy can potentially be the key needed to unlock a true cure.

    Even if this is the case, the BBC notes another potential barrier -- the fact that the majority of sickle cell warriors live in African countries, and therefore do not have easy access to expensive gene therapy procedures, such as this. So, besides conducting more trials on many more patients, researchers will also need to discover a way to reduce costs, so that if a cure is indeed discovered, it can actually be used where it's needed most, to help as many millions of people as possible.

  6. A New Hope: Introducing the New and Improved Xickle RBC-Plus

    December 27, 2016 by Andrea
    Photo: CreateHerStock

    Photo: CreateHerStock

    For almost a year, we've been in the process of conducting Phase I of our clinical trial -- the first step on Xickle's journey toward FDA approval. This first phase -- a dose-escalation study -- involved participants with sickle cell taking oral doses of SCD-101, the drug-equivalent of Xickle RBC-Plus.

    Based on the development of herbal medications like Niprisan, SCD-101 is comprised of a proprietary blend of sorghum, pepper, and clove extracts, and is the newly improved formulation of the original Xickle RBC-Plus. This strengthened composition is set to be released the first of the year (2017), and the clinical evidence we've discovered so far is nothing short of promising.

    Our clinical trial participants have reported reduced chronic pain and fatigue, as well as improved sleep and ulcer healing. And we've observed a direct anti-sickling effect on red blood cells that is twice the anti-sickling activity of the initial supplement. 


    For all the details on our clinical trial and its findings, check out our recent presentation for the American Society of Hematology. Phase II of our trial will begin in 2017.

    Xickle RBC-Plus/SCD-101 can protect the structural integrity of red blood cells and can reduce the occurrence of red blood cell clumping. To take advantage of these benefits, visit our website and place your order.

    Wishing you all much health and happiness in the new year!

  7. The Major Advancement in Sickle Cell Treatment That Has Everyone Talking

    November 18, 2016 by Andrea
    Photo: Public Domain

    Photo: Public Domain

    Over the past week, there have been some exciting developments toward the treatment of sickle cell. One has to do with Xickle's very own journey from supplement status to pharmaceutical drug status (more on this in the coming weeks). Another has to do with the developments in gene editing from scientists at Standford University School of Medicine. 

    At Stanford, those scientists have successfully used the gene-editing tool, CRISPR, on the very gene that causes sickle cell -- mending it in stem cells taken from sickle cell warriors. The study, which was published last week in Nature, discusses how Dr. Natthew Porteus and his team repaired the gene mutation in 30 to 50 percent of cells with SCD. Then, those cells were injected into mice, and according to Reuters, those same cells were still functioning properly 16 weeks later.

    "What we've finally shown is that we can do it," said Porteus in ScienceDaily. "It's not just on the chalkboard. We can take stem cells from a patient and correct the mutation and show that those stem cells turn into red blood cells that no longer make sickled hemoglobin."

    The next step? Human clinical trials. Right now, the plan is to begin those trials in 2018. This is definitely a historic advancement in the treatment of SCD, and we're excited to see where it leads.

    For more information on the study and the process planned for human clinical trials, read the entire articles below:

    1) ScienceDaily: "Step toward gene therapy for sickle cell disease"
    2) Reuters: "Stanford uses CRISPR to correct sickle cell, human trials planned"
    3) TheScientist: "More Success Fixing Sickle Cell Gene with CRISPR"

  8. 6 Quick Facts You May Not Have Known — But Should — About Xickle RBC-Plus

    June 6, 2016 by Andrea
    Photo: Startup Stock Photos

    Photo: Startup Stock Photos

    You see us pop up on your Twitter timeline every day, sharing our posts about sickle cell awareness and education. But, behind the scenes, we've got a lot more going on. Here are 6 things you may not have known -- but should -- about Xickle RBC-Plus.

    1. Xickle RBC-Plus is an all-natural supplement with a formulation that helps red blood cells maintain a healthy shape and prevents clumping of cells, even during low blood oxygen conditions.

    2. Basically, Xickle RBC-Plus is a new, improved form of Niprisan/Nicosan, which was approved for sickle cell treatment in Nigeria 10 years ago.

    3. One of the main ingredients in Xickle RBC-Plus is sorghum, which is known to posses anti-sickling activity. The sorghum seeds were collected from 19 different countries, and once the leaves started to sprout, they were analyzed for their anti-sickling properties at the Sickle Cell Disease Reference Laboratory located at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

    4. Prior to our human clinical trial, Xickle RBC-Plus became one out of 700 compounds tested by the Sickle Cell Disease Reference Laboratory shown to be effective in treating mice with human sickle cell disease.

    5. We are currently in the process of obtaining FDA approval. For a little more than a year, we've been conducting a clinical trial in which participants were given the drug equivalent of Xickle RBC-Plus. At certain intervals during the trial, blood was drawn from each participant and placed under low oxygen conditions, so that the reactions of the treated red blood cells could be studied.

    6. Xickle RBC-Plus has no known toxicity, so it can be safely used to help prevent red blood cell sickling it warriors of all ages. In fact, in pre-clinical studies, Xickle RBC-Plus was shown to be safe at more than 100 times the recommended dose.

    Have more questions? Contact us during normal business hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT) at 855-994-2553.

  9. How Blood Substitutes May be the Solution to Donation Blood That’s in Short Supply

    February 22, 2016 by Andrea
    Photo: Filter Forge [CC BY 2.0]

    Photo: Filter Forge [CC BY 2.0]

    If you've ever watched an episode of the HBO series "True Blood," you're familiar with the idea of using synthetic blood to replace real blood. In real life, of course, synthetic blood wouldn't be used as a vampire deterrent, rather it would be used to provide blood transfusions to people who needed it -- like patients with sickle cell -- if actual blood was in short supply. And according to the Association of Donor Recruitment Professionals, the cache of donated blood tends to decrease during the winter months.

    Now, this concept isn't exactly new. In fact, there have been several blood substitutes created and tested over the past few decades; however, there is no blood substitute that is currently approved for use on humans in the U.S. That may all change in the next few years, though. As early as 2017, the Universities of Oxford, Bristol, and Cambridge will run a human clinical trial in which 20 people will given "blood" that has been created in a lab, reports the BBC. If the trial is a success, that will not only open up more options for blood transfusions when the supply is low, but it will also help better treat patients with more hard-to-match blood types, since the synthetic blood will work as O negative.

    Smithsonian magazine clarifies, "Blood substitutes don’t aim to replace real blood, they simply fill one of bloods’ roles: transporting oxygen. Some do this by just mimicking hemoglobin. Others are entirely novel, synthetic oxygen carriers." According to the Pacific Heart, Lung & Blood Institute, other benefits of synthetic blood include:

    1) No immune system reactions
    2) No risk of infectious disease transmission
    3) Longer shelf life -- from one to three years, sans refrigeration
    4) Doesn't infringe on some patients' religious beliefs

    We still have a few years until we find out whether or not a new blood substitute will be approved for human use, but knowing that we're one step closer is a great achievement.

  10. Another Milestone in Our Quest for FDA Approval

    March 9, 2015 by Andrea

    Stethoscope 3
    Just three months in and already 2015 has been off to a good start for Xickle. In January, we announced plans for a clinical trial; in February, we published a brief preview of our research; and this month, we've not only been a part of an amazing sickle cell-centric radio show, but now, we're excited to share that our clinical trial has officially been published on clinicaltrials.gov

    To summarize, our clinical trial is studying the safety and clinical effects of SCD-101 (the drug equivalent of Xickle RBC-Plus) in adults with sickle cell disease. Effectively identical to Xickle RBC-Plus -- it's made in the same plant, by the same process, and bottled by the same company -- SCD-101 "inhibits sickling of red blood cells containing Hb S (sickle hemoglobin) under low oxygen conditions ... SCD-101 may inhibit red blood cell sickling in patients with sickle cell disease and reduce symptoms and slow disease progression." 

    We believe so strongly in our product and have seen how it has positively affected our current users, so this trial is quite significant since it's bringing us one step closer to FDA approval, ultimately giving us solid credibility as a treatment for SCD. While we work through the approval process (which can take 4-6 years), we will continue to offer Xickle RBC-Plus as a supplement via our website.

    To learn even more about our current clinical trial, including criteria, outcome measures, and important dates, read more here -- and of course, spread the word! 

    Are you excited about this clinical trial? Have any questions? Tell us in the comments below!

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