An Experimental Procedure For Sickle Cell Anemia Essay

765 Words Apr 22nd, 2016 4 Pages
To date, there is no successful cure to sickle cell anemia. Fortunately, in 2010, there was a successful bone marrow transplant procedure done on an African American doctor named Afia Donkor. Afia was a 30-year-old woman who had struggled with the disease her entire life. In 2010 she arrived at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, to undergo an experimental procedure designed to reverse her sickle cell anemia. She had developed such a severe case that she began to battle with simple, everyday movements like walking down the street. For the procedure, “doctors at NIH removed Afia’s bone marrow and replaced it with specially-treated bone marrow obtained from her brother, a healthy, compatible donor who does not have sickle cell disease” (NHLBI Engagement, 2015). Unlike Afia’s, her brother’s marrow was nourished with rich stem cells prior to the transplant, allowing him to provide his sister with a gift that not anyone could give. Shortly after the surgery, Afia’s new bone marrow was able to begin producing normal red blood cells, not unhealthy sickle cells, just like her brother. Because of her transplant, her horrible symptoms of fatigue and pain disappeared. Today, Afia now does things she only dreamed of doing previously. One of those activities is running. Most patients continue to be dependent on immunosuppressant’s for long periods after surgery, but Afia proved that you could progressively stop taking these strong drugs. Although Afia’s…

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