Breakthrough treatment for sickle cell disease
NHS England to offer breakthrough treatment for sickle cell disease
Crizanlizumab is the first new therapy for 20 years for serious and lifelong health condition
Thousands of patients in England are to benefit from the first treatment for sickle cell disease in two decades, the NHS has announced.
Crizanlizumab, a “revolutionary” life-changing drug treatment, is delivered by a transfusion drip and works by binding to a protein in the blood cells to prevent the restriction of blood and oxygen supply.
The therapy, the first to become available for the disease in 20 years, will help at least 5,000 people over the next three years, officials said.
Sickle cell disease – particularly common in people with an African or Caribbean background – is a serious and lifelong health condition. It can cause severe pain and organ failure, often requiring hospital admissions.
Current treatments to prevent sickle cell crises include a tablet called hydroxycarbamide and regular blood transfusions, but these are not always effective for people with severe forms of the disease.