BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - There is a new resource in Birmingham for people with Sickle Cell disease as UAB opens its Adult Sickle Cell clinic.
The university has treated children for the disease in which red blood cells create sickle shapes, creating intense pain.
Dr. Julie Kanter, who came to UAB earlier this year to run the clinic says the center in the Kirklin Clinic will provide treatment including transfusions, pain management, psychological care and more for adults.
“For kids, we’re pretty good and providing sickle cell disease care in a comprehensive environment,” says Kanter. “But,” she adds, “for a long time, kids weren’t surviving into adulthood, so the good news is we have so many people living longer, we just need to help them live stronger.”
James Arrington, Executive Director of the Southeast Alabama Sickle Cell Clinic, attended a reception to celebrate the opening of the adult center. Arrington says adult sickle cell patients are sometimes denied treatment when they show up at an emergency room seeking pain relief because some personnel may believe the patients are drug abusers. He says it’s good to know those patients have a place where they’ll be understood. “You can’t find a cure looking only at infancy, you need to look at those who have gone to the next stage of adulthood and this is a wonderful way to capture that” says Arrington.
Dr. Kanter says she hopes to create a statewide network for adult sickle cell care.
She also says by July she hopes to begin a gene therapy trial she helped develop at part of a team at the national institutes of health that NIH believes could cure sickle cell.