Georgia Tech hosts sickle cell disease symposium

November 03, 2010

Georgia Tech will host the Sickle Cell Disease Symposium bringing together researchers, policy experts and community advocates to discuss the latest research and strategies for future success in combating this complex and debilitating blood disorder. The symposium begins at Georgia Tech's Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience on November 4 and concludes the evening of November 5.

"There's a misconception that sickle cell disease solely affects African Americans and that it does not represent a health disparity. All races can be affected and the disease is most prevalent in those with ancestry from sub-Saharan Africa, Saudi Arabia, India, the Mediterranean and Latin and South America," said conference organizer Gilda Barabino, professor and associate chair for graduate studies in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. "Sickle cell disease is prevalent in populations that face social, economic, cultural, structural, geographical and other barriers to comprehensive and quality care and, as such is among the diseases that involve health disparities."

Sickle cell disease is a blood disorder that results in patients having mostly hemoglobin S in their blood streams. Patients with this disorder often have red blood cells that take on a sickle shape, rather than the typical disc shape. The sickle-shaped blood cells are less pliable than normal red blood cells, making it difficult for blood to pass through small blood vessels. When sickle cells clog up small blood vessels, less fresh blood can flow to that tissue, causing damage and the eventual complications that accompany sickle cell disease.

"There is no cure for sickle cell disease, and existing therapies are limited in their benefit to patients. This blood disorder involves virtually every organ system, and each must be addressed in the context of the other systems," said Barabino. "While understandably, since Sickle cell disease is a blood disorder, hematological perspectives have dominated, there is much to learn from other areas to include perspectives on public health, nutrition, health outcomes and surveillance. Future translational advances in the next century will only occur through integrated approaches that view the patient in total and draw on the tools and technologies of a variety of disciplines."

The symposium will gather experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, the University of Southern California, the University of California - San Francisco, the University of Minnesota, the University of Virginia, the University of the West Indies and Medical College of Georgia as well as the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University.

By bringing together scientists, policy experts and consumers, the organizers hope to build a true community amongst researchers aiming to develop treatments and possible cures for this disease. They also aim to strengthen existing partnerships and develop a blueprint for research that establishes the state of Georgia as an unrivaled leader in this field.

"Sickle cell disease is a very complicated and debilitating genetic blood disorder for which a cure and effective treatment strategies remain elusive, even 100 years after the initial discovery of the disease. By bringing together these groups, we seek to work across boundaries and deliver a blueprint for an integrated sickle cell research strategy," said Barabino.
-end-


Georgia Institute of Technology

Related Red Blood Cells Articles from Brightsurf:

SMART researchers develop fast and efficient method to produce red blood cells
Researchers from Singapore-MIT developed a faster and more efficient way to manufacture red blood cells that cuts down on cell culture time by half.

Synthetic red blood cells mimic natural ones, and have new abilities
Scientists have tried to develop synthetic red blood cells that mimic the favorable properties of natural ones, such as flexibility, oxygen transport and long circulation times.

Exeter student leads research concluding that small red blood cells could indicate cancer
Having abnormally small red blood cells - a condition known as microcytosis - could indicate cancer, according to new research led by a University of Exeter student working with a world-leading team.

Physicists design 'super-human' red blood cells to deliver drugs to specific targets
A team of physicists from McMaster University has developed a process to modify red blood cells so they can be used to distribute drugs throughout the body, which could specifically target infections or treat catastrophic diseases such as cancer or Alzheimer's.

Blood transfusions: Fresh red blood cells no better than older ones
Findings from the ABC-PICU study on critically ill children may alter policies at hospitals where fresh red cells are preferentially used.

Fresh red blood cell transfusions do not help critically ill children more than older cells
Researchers have found that transfusions using fresh red blood cells -- cells that have spent seven days or less in storage -- are no more beneficial than older red blood cells in reducing the risk of organ failure or death in critically ill children.

Red blood cell donor pregnancy history not tied to mortality after transfusion
A new study has found that the sex or pregnancy history of red blood cell donors does not influence the risk of death among patients who receive their blood.

How sickled red blood cells stick to blood vessels
An MIT study describes how sickled red blood cells get stuck in tiny blood vessels of patients with sickle-cell disease.

Novel gene in red blood cells may help adult newts regenerate limbs
Adult newts can repeatedly regenerate body parts. Researchers from Japan, including the University of Tsukuba, and the University of Daytona, have identified Newtic1, a gene that is expressed in clumps of red blood cells in the circulating blood.

Healthy red blood cells owe their shape to muscle-like structures
The findings could shed light on sickle cell diseases and other disorders where red blood cells are deformed.

Read More: Red Blood Cells News and Red Blood Cells Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.