50 years in the past, urea confirmed promise as a sickle-cell therapy

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Urea normalizes cells – Science Information, December 19, 1970

Intravenous infusions of urea now seem to vow profitable therapy of sickle-cell sufferers.… Urea causes sickled cells to revert to their regular, doughnut form. Up to now, intravenous infusions of urea have relieved sickle-cell crises in 22 sufferers examined.

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Sickle-cell illness causes painful clots that may result in strokes and harm organs. Bone marrow transplants, which started within the Nineteen Eighties for sickle-cell sufferers, are a treatment, however discovering a donor could be difficult. In 1998, a urea-based compound referred to as hydroxyurea grew to become the primary drug accepted by the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration to deal with sickle-cell illness. Till then, and not using a transplant, docs may solely ease signs with painkillers and blood transfusions.

Hydroxyurea remains to be used immediately. As a result of the compound could be poisonous at excessive doses, scientists have continued looking for higher therapies. Scientific trials beneath manner in the US are utilizing the gene-editing device CRISPR/Cas9 to edit sickle-cell sufferers’ DNA in an effort to beat the illness for good (SN: 8/31/19, p. 6).

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