BETHESDA, Md. (WUSA9) -- A new treatment may one day make a huge difference for sickle cell patients.

Aclinical trial for SelG1fromSelexys Pharmaceuticals is now underway across the country. It is called the SUSTAIN Phase 2 clinical trial.

Locally,The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders in Bethesda is conducting the trial. They are looking for sicklecellpatients who meet the following criteria:

  • Patientswho have at least 2 documented pain crises per year.
  • Patients who are at least 18 years old.
  • Patients who are not pregnant

Dr. Ralph Boccia of the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders says, "We have a trial now that has developed a monclonal antibody to block P-selectin. Hoping this will reduce the stickiness of the cells and allow good adequate blood flow through the microcirculation thereby reducing pain crises."

Sickle cell anemia is a genetic disease that affects about 1 out of every 500 of our African-American population. This results in a change of certain red cells that alters the shape into a sickle-like formation. This results in hardening of the cells and causes them to stick together, blocking the blood flow.

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