Posted on Wednesday 7 October 2015
Sickled and other red blood cells
Experts from across the world are in London this week to discuss the latest research and care for people living with inherited blood disorders. Guy’s and St Thomas’ and Evelina London Children’s Healthcare are jointly hosting their annual Sickle Cell Disease and Thalassaemia conference.
Sickle cell disease and thalassaemia mainly affect people of African and Caribbean background. Sufferers have problems with their haemoglobin, the protein found in red blood cells that carries oxygen around the body. Their sickle shaped cells block small blood vessels, putting them at greater risk of stroke, chest infections and severe pain.
Thalassaemia is a group of inherited blood disorders in which the haemoglobin in blood is abnormal. The disorder may lead to drowsiness, breathlessness and, if left untreated, other conditions such as heart failure.
Dr Baba Inusa, a leading consultant from Evelina London’s sickle cell and thalassaemia service - which is part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ - says: “People with sickle cell disease face a lifetime of challenges which can greatly affect their quality of life. They live in constant pain and may need to take time out of education or work because of the amount of time they spend in hospital, which can lead to psychological problems.
“We will share our knowledge about the latest research and techniques like pain management and bone marrow transplants for children with severe sickle cell disease. In doing so we hope to greatly improve the lives of many thousands of people living with these conditions.”
Around 200 experts including haematologists, paediatricians, nurses and psychologists from countries including the USA, Jamaica, Germany and Lebanon will be attending the conference.