Cancer and Blood Disorders
The Sickle Cell Disease Program at Children’s is one of the nation’s largest serving pediatric patients. It focuses on the prevention of disease complications and management using the newest treatment strategies, including hydroxyurea, chronic transfusions, stem cell (bone marrow) transplantation and state-of-the-art approaches to infection prevention, pain management and treatment of specific organ-related complications (chest syndrome, priapism, avascular necrosis of the femoral head, etc.).
Each year, our staff cares for more than 700 children with the various forms of sickle cell disease, often with the very treatments our researchers developed. These elements of our program stand out as exceptional:
From its earliest days, the program has aggressively pursued development of new treatment approaches. In the 1980s, it led the way on the use of prophylactic penicillin in infants and continuous intravenous opioid analgesics in children. The 1990s brought pioneering studies of the outpatient management of fever in low-risk patients, and studies of intravenous corticosteroid agents on children with vaco-occlusive crisis and acute chest syndrome.
Around the country, hematologists rely on data from the Dallas Newborn Cohort, a cohort of children with sickle cell disease cared for here since 1983. Providing comprehensive care for these children has allowed us to identify the medical problems that they face as they become young adults.
We collaborated with other leading pediatric sickle cell centers to study the use of hydroxyurea in infants. Nicknamed BABY HUG, landmark findings were published in Lancet. BABY HUG II, a follow-up study, is being led by Zora R. Rogers, M.D.