Washington U. physician gets $4M grant for sickle cell treatment - KMOV.com

Washington U. physician gets $4M grant for sickle cell treatment

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Sickle cells (Credit: KMOV) Sickle cells (Credit: KMOV)

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- It’s a disease that affects thousands of Americans, but now doctors at Washington University may be closer to finding better treatment for patients with sickle cell disease.

Sickle Cell, which turns healthy red blood cells into abnormal sickle shaped ones, is inherited from a person's parents.

Sickle Cell causes blockage that slows the flow of blood. The end result is attacks of chronic pain.

"It's like an intense needle that makes your body still,” said Hakeem Reid.

Hakeem’s mom and sister have the disease and he said they've all learned to cope with it as a unit.

His doctor is Washington University Hematologist Allison King. She said the disease affects a lot of African Americans.

"In the U.S. 90 percent of people who have this disease are African American,” she said.

So are 99 percent of her patients here in St. Louis. That's why the more than $4 million grant she received from the National Institute of Health is so vital.

"We hope to simplify the length of the time it takes to get evidence based care to the majority of people with sickle cell disease,” King said.

The six-year funding is the first of its kind focused on improving health outcomes for teens and adults with the lifelong disease.

For Hakeem, it means better treatment and the ability to continue doing the things he loves. .

"I can do everything everyone else does. I'm Hakeem Reid, so at the end of the day, I'm just me,” he said.

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