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Sickle cell program

Sickle cell care for kids, teens and young adults making the transition to adulthood

Our sickle cell program cares for the whole child and family – not just the disease.

Why choose CHoR for your child's sickle cell treatment?

  • We are one of four comprehensive sickle cell centers in the state of Virginia. The pediatric hematology team at CHoR is engaged in state-wide work to improve the care of all patients living with SCD in Virginia and beyond.
  • We are the only center in Virginia offering curative therapies for SCD.
  • We have a robust transition program that helps adolescents and young adults learn the skills necessary to successfully transfer to adult care. VCU has the only comprehensive adult sickle cell center in the state of Virginia, and we partner with our adult team to make sure there is a smooth transfer of care as our patients' age.
  • We offer overnight retreats and off-site activities for our transition-age patients to network with other patients.
  • We partner with the Richmond community for blood and bone marrow drives, support groups and advocacy work.
  • We provide education for families, community pediatricians and community partners.
  • We also work in coordination with VCU Massey Cancer Center, the only central Virginia center and one of only two in Virginia. This partnership has allowed us to lead and shape research efforts in curative therapies for SCD.
  • CHoR is one of the first 10 clinical sites to join the American Society of Hematology’s (ASH) RC Sickle Cell Disease Clinical Trials Network. The sites will be able to enroll children and adults living with sickle cell disease in clinical trials as part of an unprecedented national effort to streamline operations and facilitate data sharing to expedite the development of new treatments for this disease. 

Diagnosing sickle cell disease

Sickle cell disease is diagnosed with a blood test that checks for abnormal hemoglobin that is present in the red blood cells of individuals with sickle cell disease. This test is now part of routine newborn screenings but can also be done on older children and adults as well. Because of universal newborn screening most patients are diagnosed shortly after birth.

Treating sickle cell

There is no universal cure for sickle cell, but new treatments and preventive therapies have improved the life expectancy and quality of life for people with the disorder.

Treatment options can include:

  • Hydroxyurea: This is a drug that is used to help reduce cell sickling as well as many of the major complications of sickle cell disease. Hydroxyurea is a once-daily medication taken by mouth
  • Red blood cell transfusions: May be given regularly to prevent illness, or during times of illness. We provide seamless outpatient and inpatient care, integrating subspecialists with an interest in SCD to care for the patient during times of health and illness.
  • Bone marrow and stem cell therapies: Currently the only curative treatments for sickle cell disease. During a transplant, the patient’s bone marrow is replaced with marrow from a person who does not have sickle cell disease.
  • Additional treatments: Other treatments may include antibiotics, pain medicines and psychological counseling to help with the side effects of sickle cell.

Our pediatric hematologists will discuss each option available to your child.

Schedule an appointment

Meet patients who have received sickle cell treatment at CHoR

Learn more about sickle cell care at CHoR and how hydroxyurea is helping kids like Ashley and the Cypress twins live full and active lives.

Support services: Counseling and additional supportive care for patients with sickle cell anemia and their families

Our comprehensive team provides care to support the unique needs of each patient and family, including:

Local Richmond and Virginia resources for patients and families

Life and Family Foundation VA
The Life and Family Foundation of Virginia is a community-based organizational hub for the State of Virginia providing advocacy, education, empowerment and partnerships. The hub is for individuals, families, medical practitioners, and care givers of those with health care problems related to Sickle Cell Disease.

Virginia Department of Health: The Virginia Sickle Cell Awareness Programs
This website provides information regarding sickle cell disease to the public and health care professionals. It also offers information regarding screening, referral, counseling and follow-up services to Virginians at risk for sickle cell disease.

National resources for patients and families

Sickle cell info
This is a comprehensive link for sickle cell education, information and research. The mission of this site is to provide sickle cell patient and professional education, news, and research updates.

Sickle Cell Disease Association of America
This is the homepage for the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, Inc.

Educational resources from St. Jude

Related videos

2020 Sickle Cell Awareness Month Q&A
Dr. Sisler: Leader of the Pack
Sickle Cell Disease Q&A
 
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