Try digitalPLUS for 10 days for only $0.99

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
  • Put Jackson-Lee statue in context

    Put Jackson-Lee statue in context

    Our community is having a heated discussion about Confederate flags, monuments, white supremacy and "the past." I want to zero in on the Jackson-Lee statue in Homewood that sits along Art Museum Drive near the beautiful Wyman Dell and across from the Baltimore Museum of Art ("Status of Confederate...

  • Hogan sees Baltimore as the enemy

    Hogan sees Baltimore as the enemy

    Regarding Baltimore's transit problems, one of the best local investigative reports ever was submitted in the form of a letter to the editor by Alex Lopata of Crownsville ("O's fans mistreated by MTA," June 30).

  • The Red Line is wrong for Baltimore

    The Red Line is wrong for Baltimore

    Now that Gov. Larry Hogan has nixed the Red Line, the predictable wailing and gnashing of teeth has begun ("Hogan goes off the tracks," June 25).

  • An alternative track for the Red Line

    An alternative track for the Red Line

    There is another path to developing the Red Line that is much better than what the city and the MTA have been recommending ("City leaders remain dedicated to fighting for Red Line," July 1).

  • Edmonson Village still needs a Red Line

    Edmonson Village still needs a Red Line

    After decades of work and $288 million spent on design and planning, Gov. Larry Hogan's decision to abandon the Red Line is a devastating blow to West Baltimore ("City leaders remain dedicated to fighting for Red Line," July 1).

  • Spare the Lee-Jackson monument

    Spare the Lee-Jackson monument

    I grew up in Baltimore, studied and taught there, but it wasn't until after a year's study in Paris and a French friend's subsequent visit to my hometown that I became aware of the Lee-Jackson monument ("Status of Confederate statues to be reviewed in Baltimore," June 30). Jean-Claude had thoroughly...

Comments
Loading

73°