Research is underway at University of Minnesota Health to find better ways to treat and manage sickle cell disease. Current research is focused on the mechanisms of pain in sickle cell disease and pain management medication (like opioids, cannabinoids and other evolving therapies). Kalpna Gupta, PhD at the University of Minnesota is conducting research to improve quality of life by finding new ways to reduce chronic and acute pain related to sickle cell disease. She has earned multiple research grants from the National Institutes of Health and other similar funding agencies, which has helped us become a leader in the development of new treatment strategies for sickle cell disease.
A team of researchers are also testing new therapies to prevent sickle-shaped red blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels. These therapies and new anti-inflammatory drugs may prevent blood vessel blockage, which causes organ damage and pain among sickle cell disease patients.
A blood and marrow transplant is the only option for curing the disease. This procedure replaces the cells that make your blood with healthy cells. The transplant procedure has many side effects, so it is usually only done in severe cases and when people meet certain health criteria. Early diagnosis is crucial for proper management of the disease.