Summer Savings! Get unlimited digital access for 13 weeks for $13.
Readers Respond
News Opinion Readers Respond

Maryland research on sickle cell disease is tragically underfunded

I was pleased to read your coverage of the suffering endured by patients living with sickle cell disease ("As a sufferer, researcher and advocate, Johns Hopkins' Carlton Haywood has been battling the 'orphan disease' sickle cell all his life," July 7). The report noted that sickle cell disease research is tragically underfunded in Maryland.

The only known cure for SCD involves adult stem cells, either from a bone marrow or from an umbilical cord blood transplant. Dr. Javier Bolanos Meade, at Johns Hopkins, is doing research to expand the pool of bone marrow donors so that more patients can find a match. Other research shows SCD can be reversed with a transplant of cells from umbilical cord blood. Several children have already been cured of sickle cell disease with a cord blood transplant.

In February, the state Senate passed legislation establishing the Maryland Sickle Cell Disease Research Fund. The legislation would have established a grant program to fund SCD research using bone marrow and cord blood.

Unfortunately, the House of Delegates did not vote on the bill. Leaders of the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund disparaged the bill's approach because they felt that alternative approaches, such as one they had already funded at $690,000, were better.

Their preferred approach is to devote 10-15 years to developing a universal blood supply using embryonic-like stem cells so that SCD patients can get red blood cell transfusions. This is not a cure, only a treatment that must be repeated often.

How sad that the leadership of the House of Delegates and the MSCRF put politics ahead of life-saving medical research. Kudos to the Senate for recognizing that adult stem cells are already saving lives.

Nancy E. Paltell, Edgewater

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Baltimore needs BRT

    Baltimore needs BRT

    Recently, Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford announced that Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) should be considered as an alternative instead of the now-shelved Red Line light rail system ("Who knew Hogan, Rutherford were such transit geeks," July 15). Why? Costs. Light rail is extremely expensive — to the tune of...

  • Orioles: No gnomes, please

    Orioles: No gnomes, please

    In light of the Orioles recent near-death spiral, many fans have pinned the blame on the Buck Showalter Garden Gnome giveaway ("Buck Showalter garden gnome briefly causes long lines at Camden Yards," June 28). True, their record since the promotion has been dismal and Buck Showalter was warned...

  • Baltimore remains a fiber desert

    Baltimore remains a fiber desert

    Like Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's Smarter Baltimore draft report, the commentary, "Broadband for Baltimore" (July 27), has solid recommendations for building high speed Internet in Baltimore. But like that report, it ignores the principal reason that Baltimore City doesn't have broadband. Verizon's...

  • The evil of Iran

    The evil of Iran

    We sat 5,000-plus strong in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in the District of Columbia for three intense days of Christians United For Israel (CUFI) 10th summit on July 12-14. We came from all across the nation (including 95 members from other countries and 500 college students). We...

  • Iran deal — war now or war later

    Iran deal — war now or war later

    In its recent editorial, The Sun adopts President Barack Obama's primary argument in favor of the Iran deal — that the only choice is the deal or war ("A 'good enough' agreement," July 24). No one wants war. But the choice here is not war or no war. It is war now or war later.

  • Trump is the anti-politician

    Trump is the anti-politician

    Why are the press and both political parties so upset that Donald Trump is running for president ("The Trump lesson that Bush and Clinton should heed," July 27)? Could it be that he does not need someone else's money so the Democratic National Committee, GOP, George Soros or big business can't...

Comments
Loading
82°