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New Study Hopes to Show that Exercise is Actually Safe for Kids with Sickle Cell

May 30, 2017 by Andrea

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Whether it's at school recess or with friends in the neighborhood on weekends or during summer break, there's no denying that kids love to play -- and play hard. From intense games of tag to spirited jaunts on the jungle gym, kids can get into vigorous exercise without even trying too hard. Such robust romps worry parents and caregivers of young sickle cell warriors because they believe that increased inflammation brought on by exercise could send their child into a full-on crisis. A new study -- which the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute funded with a $2.7 million grant -- hopes to prove that kids with sickle cell can safely partake in playtime, allowing them to not only get much-needed social interaction with their peers, but also avoid settling into a sedentary lifestyle that could impede their physical fitness at a young age.

As reported by the Ann & Robert H. Lurrie Children's Hospital of Chicago, Dr. Robert Liem, a lead researcher on this project, believes there are certain levels of exercise that kids with SCD can handle, and during the five-year study, he plans to compare the post-workout effects of 70 kids with sickle cell and 70 kids without sickle cell. "In the upcoming study, the team will look at the different ways moderate and vigorous intensity physical activity affects inflammation," states a news release from Lurrie Children's Hospital. "Their hypothesis is that exercise is safe in this population and does not provoke sickle cell disease related complications. With these data, Liem hopes to develop a future clinical trial to look at whether or not regular exercise may instead have a beneficial impact on this disease."

The study is expected to kick off this fall, and will include patients at five other hospitals in the country. “We want to see how the genetic changes regulate the inflammation response to exercise. We hope this will provide important evidence of exercise safety in kids with sickle cell disease,” Dr. Liem stated in an interview with the hospital.

Read more about that study here.

Additionally, our own clinical trial has shown that SCD-101 (the drug equivalent of Xickle RBC-Plus) may improve a patient's ability to exercise. Anecdotal reports we've received from participants in our trial have stated that warriors taking SCD-101 can walk further and faster. This is great news for kids (and adults) with sickle cell all over the world.


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