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A cure for sickle cell disease? Young boy might be the first person to be cured

A 12-year-old child with sickle cell disease, Kendric Cromer, is the first patient in the United States to get gene therapy.

Kendric Comer is currently undergoing gene therapy [newyorktimes]

Globally, there are roughly 50 million people with sickle cell disease (SCD), with four to six million of those cases occurring in Nigeria, where 1 in 4 people have the trait. NBC Washington says that 100,000 Americans have sickle cell disease.

A treatment for sickle cell disease was announced earlier this year, and there may be a cure on the horizon.

Kendric is receiving treatment at Children's National Hospital in Washington, D.C., and by the end of the next year, he might become the first sickle cell patient to be healed with gene therapy. Deb Cromer, his mother, has been by him side and she is optimistic he'll be cured.

People with this disease have a period of pain called a crisis, but over time it can damage other organs. Kendric's chronic pain from his early years has prevented him from being a normal child.

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The treatment is expensive and painful, but insurance covers Kendric’s hospital costs. To regenerate his body with genetically altered bone marrow stem cells, he is going through a procedure to remove them. Chemotherapy is used in the procedure to remove bone marrow and enlarge it to accept the altered stem cells.

If Kendric’s treatment is successful, then it will mean that there is finally a cure for a disease that has caused death and pain.

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