Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. 99¢ for 4 weeks.
NewsOpinionReaders Respond

Maryland research on sickle cell disease is tragically underfunded

Medical ResearchDiseases and Illnesses

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 © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
Medical ResearchDiseases and Illnesses
  • On guns, Hogan must have something to hide
    On guns, Hogan must have something to hide

    It doesn't take much to recognize that a politician who refuses to release his answers to a questionnaire from an organization that lobbies the legislature may be suspected of having something to hide ("What did Hogan tell the NRA?" Oct. 21).

  • Vote Mizeur for governor
    Vote Mizeur for governor

    If, like me, you are disgusted with both of the candidates for governor of our state, there is a simple solution on Election Day ("Race for governor resorts to untruths," Oct. 23).

  • Don't give up on dyslexic students' ability to read
    Don't give up on dyslexic students' ability to read

    I agree with commentator Kalman R. Hettleman that students with learning disabilities such as dyslexia aren't getting the support they need ("Disabled students aren't as disabled as you think," Oct. 7).

  • Maryland's one-party state
    Maryland's one-party state

    I ran to the convenience store this morning to pick up some milk and saw at least eight campaign signs within a quarter mile: Brown/Ulman, Elijah Cummings and — the most telling — "Vote the Democrats."

  • Loyola professor gets the math wrong
    Loyola professor gets the math wrong

    In 2014 it's hard to imagine an economist who is unaware of the concept of inflation or the Consumer Price Index. Yet letter writer and Loyala University of Maryland professor Stephen J.K. Walters still doesn't get it ("Rodricks finds the wrong villain in Ebola research...

  • Brown has lost this Democrat's vote
    Brown has lost this Democrat's vote

    I woke up on the first day of early voting in Maryland to a depressingly familiar front page headline in The Sun — "Race for governor resorts to untruths" (Oct. 23). With it came the usual mix of disgust, anger and frustration that I have felt every day of this gubernatorial...

Comments
Loading