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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.


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