Sickle cell patients in England have been given a new treatment for the disease, the first in 20 years.
Sickle cell disease is a blood disease that is inherited from both parents who pass on a particular gene and can be found by a blood test. The condition can cause severe pain and organ failure, which often requires hospital treatment.
However the new treatment, named Crizanlizumab, is thought to cut hospital admissions by 40%, and is administered by a monthly infusion.
The Sickle Cell Society have a guide on their website to this new treatment, and say that you are eligible for it if:
- Have a confirmed diagnosis of sickle cell disease,
- Be aged 16 and over and had two or more confirmed sickle cell crises (vaso-occlusive crises or VOC) in the previous 12 months. (A sickle cell crisis is an acute painful episode that requires pain relief medication to manage at home or in hospital),
- Be assessed by a member of the specialist team responsible for your care who can present your case to the regional multi-disciplinary team for review.
Chair of the Sickle Cell Society, Kye Gbangbola MBA, on the NHS website, said, “A new treatment brings new hope for people living with Sickle Cell Disorder, the world’s most common genetic blood condition.
“SCD is a ‘medical emergency’; it causes excruciating pain, this new treatment will reduce the number of agonising pain episodes we have to endure. The hope is improved quality of life for many living with the condition and their families”.
Audio: Valerie Davis on sickle cell disease treatment.
Valerie Davis, nurse specialist for the Sickle Cell & Thalassaemia Association of Counsellors, is pleased that the new treatment through the NHS will be widely accessible.
“Predominantly the condition affects black African and Asian communities, so I think it will be excellent because this treatment is really just focusing on those who are affected by sickle cells, she said.
“This is really a great breakthrough in the history of treatments for sickle cells.”
The first person in the UK to receive this treatment is Loury Mooruth, and for Valerie this is a good sign for those who have suffered with the disease for years.
“For years her condition has greatly deteriorated, so I believe for her even if there is a 40% decrease in her attendance to hospital, that means that there’s a decrease in her pain. That would be absolutely wonderful,” Valerie added.