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Outlook improves for people with sickle cell disease

Kathryn E. Scott, MDSurvival rates for people with sickle cell disease have greatly improved over the last 40 years, and Kathryn E. Scott, MD, believes a cure is likely within the lifetime of her young patients. Scott, who directs the pediatric sickle cell program at the Waters Center for Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders at Upstate, discusses stem cell transplants and the promise of gene therapy. "Most of my young patients grow up with a good quality of life," she says. Sickle cell disease is an inherited disorder of the red blood cells that affects mostly people of African descent. A newborn screening test detects babies that are born with the disease. Early diagnosis and treatment, along with better supportive care, are responsible for extending the lifespan of people with this disease.