Miles College student and football team outfitter takes part in clinical trial that some believe has the potential to cure sickle cell disease

Last summer, Gunn had his stem cells harvested, then underwent chemotherapy to prepare for the reintroduction of these stem cells under the care of Dr Julie Kanter, director of the UAB Sickle Cell Comprehensive Clinic

“This is where we take a patient’s STEM cells using a process called apheresis, which looks like dialysis, but it filters the STEM cells instead and sends them to a lab where a new gene for healthy hemoglobin A is inserted and given back to patients and these patients are doing phenomenally, ”says Dr Kanter“ We actually just presented data at our last conference, on over 25 people who are missing from the clinic. over six months and overwhelmingly doing incredibly well, no serious adverse events, no, severe vaso-occlusive or painful crises”

She says researchers lost a patient to heart damage he suffered from sickle cell disease before entering the trial

Although the gene addition approach is considered the most innovative, Dr Kanter is also enthusiastic about other promising therapies in sickle cell patients

Half-match donor therapy allows everyone to have a donor since the donor only needs to half-match the tissue type of the patient “So they need to stay closer to Birmingham and they have a few more visits and a little more risk due to the risk of graft versus host disease but a big payoff because we know if it works it will be curative”

Equally important to Kanter is the effort to expand access to sickle cell care across Alabama

“I strongly believe that anyone with sickle cell disease deserves a sickle cell specialist and we are failing in that regard,” says Kanter Elle and others are working to build a statewide network to provide better patient care, as well as to the training of the National Alliance of Sickle Cell Centers which was just formed in December

“It’s great to have these gene therapies, but if we can’t get them to the people who need them, we’re not doing our job well enough”

Gunn, meanwhile, is preparing to bring all of her new energy back to Miles in the fall and is currently looking for a summer job. She has yet to be watched for several years as part of the clinical trial, but she is excited

“I still want to go to the military I still want to finish my studies,” she said

“All the limitations and restrictions that I have had to face all my life, after hearing the doctors tell me I can’t do this, you can’t do it Here we go I have nothing other to hold me back than me “

Sickle cell disease

News from the world – UK – Sickle cell trial changes lives in Birmingham