Sickle Cell Disease: Overview

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a descriptive term that covers a range of heritable disorders resulting from genetic mutations to the human hemoglobin (Hb) molecule. The disease encompasses individuals who carry at least one copy of the mutated S globin gene, HbS.  In sickle cell anemia (SCA, SS disease) an individual has inherited both copies of the HbS gene. For those individuals who have one S globin gene and one normal adult Hb gene, the condition is referred to as or “sickle cell trait”. Other forms of SCD are compound heterozygous states in which one copy of the mutation that causes HbS is inherited together with one copy of another abnormal Hb allele (i.e different version of the gene). These compound forms include sickle-Hb disease (HbSC), sickle beta-plus-thalassemia (HbS/?+) and sickle beta-zero-thalassaemia (HbS/?0).  The metabolic malfunctions  which result from these mutations include the characteristic sickling of red blood cells which in turn cause chronic anemia, stroke, painful crises as a result of  infarctions, leg ulcers, renal and other organ failure. Research into the various facets of the disease remains lacking in many African countries. This is especially the case for research which can translate into clinical care strategies and appropriate interventions in the African context. Addressing this research gap in a sustainable manner is the main aim of the AfroSickleNet Project. Read more


Who We Are

 

The AfroSickleNet Project is a network of investigators dedicated to taking up the challenge of addressing sickle cell disease (SCD) in Africa. Through multidisciplinary collaborations focused on the study and treatment of SCD, the network thus includes all genetic defects in hemoglobin (Hb) and red cell function associated with Hb. The project includes investigators from a wide variety of backgrounds including medicine, genetics, statistics and public health, hailing from Canada, the United States and five research centers across the African continent: Kumasi, Ghana; Yaounde, Cameroon, Ibadan, Nigeria; Kisumu, Kenya; and Cape Town, South Africa.

 

The second AfroSickleNet international two-day working meeting on Sickle Cell Research was held on the Loyola University Chicago Health Sciences Division Campus on June 6-7, 2016


Project Updates

The second AfroSickleNet international two-day working meeting on Sickle Cell Research was held on the Loyola University Chicago Health Sciences Division Campus on June 6-7, 2016. The purpose of the meeting was to create stable, multi-disciplinary collaboration of experts in all the core fields of sickle cell research and to provide a forum for interactions and discussions among investigators from Africa (Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and South Africa), United Kingdom, Jamaica and North America to share information on existing projects and to develop new collaborations. There were 43 participants, including a representative of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) that provided funding for the meeting, and two attendees from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). The meeting was hosted by Drs. Bamidele Tayo and Richard Cooper of the Department of Public Health Sciences, Loyola University Chicago.