Finding The Cure for Sickle Cell Anemia Video

The only cure for Sickle Cell Anemia is a stem cell transplant, but the perfect donor is hard to find. A new type of transplant is opening the door to the thousands of children who don't have a donor in their family.
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Melissa Medalie: For 14-year-old Albert Pinckney, having Sickle Cell Anemia forced him to grow up fast. Albert missed all of the first grade because of complications with the disease. Albert Pinckney: My spleen, gall bladder, tonsils, adenoids, I've had all those removed. Melissa Medalie: Unfortunately, Albert's story is not unusual among kids with severe sickle cell. Little Eyonna Hopkins is just beginning her own battle. She spends three to five days every months in the hospital. The disease causes abnormally shaped blood cells that have trouble passing through vessels. Patients can get blood transfusions to replace the abnormal cells, but the fix is only temporary. Dr. Shalini Shenoy: We know that we have helped them for a short while, then they are going to be back again. Melissa Medalie: The only cure is a marrow or blood stem cell transplant, but until now, this has only taken place between family members. A new study is allowing patients to receive transplants from unrelated donors. Dr. Shalini Shenoy: The idea is to try to make transplants available to different groups of patients. Melissa Medalie: They study is also trying to ease the long term effects of the chemotherapy needed before the procedure. Lower doses could prevent organ damage, ovarian failure and sterility. Although it's been a struggle Albert's disease has made him who he is. Albert Pinckney: It's really affected me and helped me to be a much more mentally strong kid than most. Melissa Medalie: A strong kid whose cure may be around the corner. This is Melissa Medalie reporting.

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