In Clinical Trials, New Drug for Sickle-Cell Disease Shows Promise

vcuA new compound developed by a team of researchers at the Institute for Structural Biology and Drug Discovery, a joint effort of the School of Medicine and the School of Pharmacy at Virginia Commonwealth University, offers hope for sufferers of sickle cell disease.

The compound, originally patented by Virginia Commonwealth University, was licensed to AesRx, a biopharmaceutical company that develops experimental drugs. AesRx was recently purchased by Baxter International, on the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies. The drug is now in Phase 2 clinical trials and early results show that the drug can be effective in reducing the sickling of red blood cells and therefore improve blood flow in patients.

This potential new treatment for sickle-cell disease is of particular interest to the African American community. While people of any race can have the sickle-cell trait, the disease is far more common among African Americans than it is among Whites. About one in every 400 African Americans is born with the sickle-cell trait.


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