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Looking Toward the Future: Sickle Cell and Gene Editing

April 25, 2016 by Andrea
Photo: CreateHer Stock

Photo: CreateHer Stock



Currently, the only "semi-cure" for sickle cell disease is a bone marrow transplant. However, not everyone is able to find a match or afford the surgery. Plus, surgery of any kind has risks associated with it. As you may have heard, though, many researchers are starting to take a closer look at gene editing, and people like Ceniya Harris -- a 9-year-old Boston resident, as reported by Scientific American -- are a major reason why. 

According to Scientific American, Ceniya has SCD, but has never once experienced a crisis or any other side effects of sickle cell. "The secret to Ceniya's good fortune lies in a second genetic mutation she inherited -- one that limits the aberrant curving of red blood cells," reports the science and technology magazine. "This unusal combination of genetic alterations means that she has yet to suffer a sickle-cell crisis, and her doctors believe that she will probably be protected form the effects of the defective hemoglobin for the rest of her life."

Basically, researchers would like to duplicate the process that happens  with Ceniya in other SCD warriors to help lessen the effects of SCD. Scientific American makes it clear that this isn't a complete cure, but that "the compensatory treatment would spare many of the 300,000 infants around the world who are born every year with sickle cell." This, of course, could take many years to achieve, but the fact that Ceniya's body does what it does is fascinating and hopeful.

Read the full article here.

Even though this technology isn't quite ready yet, there is still a way that you can mitigate the effects of SCD now: Xickle, an all-natural supplement (which is currently in clinical trials to be classified as a drug) made from cloves, pepper, and sorghum functions by reducing the clumping of red blood cells and by maintaining the shape of those cells, even in low oxygen conditions, consequently helping to lessen the effects of sickle cell.



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