Black History Month provides an opportunity to shed light on African American medical pioneers who have made important contributions in sickle cell disease (SCD), a devastating inherited blood disorder that disproportionally impacts the black community and historically lacked innovative treatment options.
Trailblazers that broke barriers and made important discoveries in an effort to bring hope to the SCD community include: Dr. Roland Scott; considered the father of SCD and instrumental in passing the Sickle Cell Anemia Control Act of 1971; Dr. John K. Haynes; whose research demonstrated that sickle cells are rigid and sickle-shaped due to having too much calcium and not enough water; and Dr. Marilyn Hughes Gaston; known for her study of sickle cell anemia resulting in a nationwide test for newborns.
Inspired during childhood by a black doctor in his local community of Huntsville, AL, Dr. Ted Love has been a leader in the biopharmaceutical industry over the past two decades following nearly 10 years of experience as a practicing physician. Dr. Love re-joined the industry after an early retirement to help usher a new era of advancements for people with SCD.
SCD occurs in 1 out of every 365 African American births, impacting more than 100,000 people in the U.S.A genetic blood disorder that affects people whose ancestors came from sub-Saharan Africa, Southern Asia, South America and the Middle East, SCD is a lifelong disease that attacks every organ in the body and can cause a wide range of complications, including inflammation, multi-organ damage and failure and early death. Despite the staggering impact of SCD, innovation has lagged for decades, leaving patients with few treatment options and inadequate access to needed healthcare.
Now Dr. Love and the SCD community are excited that the landscape is changing with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s recent approval of the first medicine specifically targeting the root cause of SCD – allowing patients to enter the new decade filled with newfound hope.
On Tuesday, February 18, join Ted W. Love, M.D. president and chief executive officer of Global Blood Therapeutics, to discuss the impact that African Americans have made in the treatment of SCD, the changing landscape and what people in the community need to know about the disease.