Newborn screening needed for sickle cell anemia in Nigeria
20 March 2017
"Nigeria has the highest rate of sickle cell in the world," Bujola Bolarinwa, president of the Sickle Cell Aid Foundation in Abuja, told Al Jazeera last week. "You have millions of people living with sickle cell, hundreds of thousands of births every year, way more than HIV, way more than cancer and a lot of other diseases that get way more funds… Sickle cell doesn’t get enough publicity."
Bolarinwa was appearing on The Stream on Al Jazeera, after suggesting the talk show explore an experimental gene therapy that is offering hope to those who suffer from sickle cell anemia, an inherited condition that can cause crippling pain and shortened lifespans.
A French teenager with the genetic condition achieved complete clinical remission after researchers in Paris injected his stem cells with an anti-sickling gene from his own bone marrow. So far it seems to be working for the teen. Fifteen months since his last treatment, the patient is no longer dependent on medication and his blood cells show no sign of the disease.