Sickle Cell research to be led by Brookes lecturer

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Dave Carter, Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Science, will take the lead on a two year research project into sickle cell disease.

Dave Carter, Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Science, will take the lead on a two-year research project into sickle cell disease, it has been announced.

Children’s medical research charity Sparks is funding the project. This is the first time the charity has pledged money for a study into the disease which is the most common hereditary blood disorder in the UK. The announcement coincided with World Sickle Cell Day on 19 June.

Dave (pictured) said: “Sickle Cell is one of the world’s most common genetic disorders, yet funding for research into the disease is disproportionately low. We are therefore extremely grateful that Sparks have recognised the importance of this condition and we hope that the results uncovered by our work will lead to new treatments for sickle cell disease.”

The disease is caused by faulty adult haemoglobin and it affects the ability of the body’s red blood cells to carry oxygen. This can lead to serious complications such as blindness, as well as problems including tissue damage, anaemia, jaundice and chronic pain.

The research will help scientists understand how adult haemoglobin is produced. It is hoped that this could lead to a new and more targeted therapy for this crippling disease which affects so many young lives.

Figures show that around 13,500 people in the UK suffer from sickle cell disease. It is also believed that 240,000 people in the UK are carriers and about 300 babies are born each year with the disease. This means it is more common than conditions such as cystic fibrosis yet receives far less funding for scientific research.

Sparks Trustee Floella Benjamin, OBE, who is also a Patron of the Sickle Cell Society said: “I’m delighted that Sparks is funding this vital research project.”