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Existing Drug Treatment Reduces Pain In Young Sickle Cell Anemia Patients

Posted May 12 2011 9:36pm

A cancer drug already used to treat adults and school-age children with sickle cell anemia is safe and significantly reduces pain and other complications of the disease in children as young as 9 months, according to a national study involving a UT Southwestern Medical Center researcher.

Pediatric researchers at UT Southwestern and 13 other academic medical centers say hydroxyurea should be offered to all young children with sickle cell anemia, regardless of disease severity and clinical symptoms. The findings of the Pediatric Hydroxyurea in Sickle Cell Anemia, or BABY HUG, trial appear online and in the May 14 edition of the Lancet.

“We’ve offered hydroxyurea at Children’s since 1992 to severely involved patients with frequent or severe complication down to age 3. On the basis of the BABY HUG study’s findings, our sickle cell team has made a conscious decision to now offer hydroxyurea to all sickle cell anemia patients in the first year of life,” said study co-author Dr. Zora Rogers, professor of pediatrics at UT Southwestern and clinical director of the general hematology and bone marrow failure program at Children’s Medical Center Dallas.

The findings, Dr. Rogers said, likely will change how all medical professionals treat very young children with sickle cell anemia.

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