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Posted on Tue, Mar 5, 2013 : 4:53 p.m.

U-M research discovery could help sickle cell patients

By Amy Biolchini


A sickle-shaped red blood cell. file photo

A recent discovery by researchers at the University of Michigan may offer sickle cell anemia patients a new treatment option, according to media reports.

U-M researchers found that an antidepressant has the potential to lessen the effects of the blood disorder on patients, the Detroit News reported.

Sickle cell anemia is a hereditary disease. The red blood cells contort into shapes like crescents or sickles, affecting their ability to carry oxygen to body tissues from the lungs -- which has serious implications over time.

A clinical trial will soon launch at Wayne State University with the use of the antidepressant.

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.



Wed, Mar 6, 2013 : 4:51 a.m.

This is wonderful news. As a teenager I lost my best friend to complications from this disease and her brother passed away as well 2 1/2 years ago. Some people can live for a long time with this disease but others are less fortunate. Regardless of the prognosis, everyone I have ever met who lived with this disease suffered greatly. It can cause much pain and suffering and many children have to endure it. I've seen the devastation first hand and I'm thankful for more advances like this.

An Arborigine

Wed, Mar 6, 2013 : 3:29 a.m.

Really cool! Will they start paying taxes or do the citizens have to bear the burdens of their success?

Sam S Smith

Wed, Mar 6, 2013 : 4:38 a.m.

Please reconsider what you posted! Sickle Cell is no picnic! The pains and the possibility and reality of tissue deaths are terrible! Great post DBH!


Wed, Mar 6, 2013 : 3:39 a.m.

I don't understand your comment. Most adult victims of sickle-cell disease have jobs and pay taxes, unless the disease has incapacitated them to the point of being unemployable. Finding an effective treatment is likely to make them even MORE employable (and pay taxes, apparently your priority in this whole story), not less. And if the possible treatment with Partane should prove successful, under what scenario would you envision "citizens" bearing "the burdens of their success" vs. bearing the burdens of their failure? Please disabuse me of my impression that your comment arose out of an abundance of ignorance and other [unspecified] negativity.