Fri | Oct 20, 2017

Clinical study of new Sickle Cell treatment under way in Jamaica

Published:Thursday | October 12, 2017 | 4:03 PM

Jamaica has been included among a small group of countries around world that is participating in a clinical study to determine the efficacy of a new treatment called Sevuparin for persons with the hereditary disease Sickle Cell Anaemia.

The clinical study involves patients within the 12 to 50 years age group and is being undertaken at six main sites or public hospitals across the island.

The hospitals include the University of the West Indies/Tropical Metabolism Research Unit, Kingston Public Hospital, Cornwall Regional Hospital, Annotto Bay Hospital, May Pen Hospital and the Mandeville Regional Hospital.

There are five additional referral sites, namely Princess Margaret Hospital, Spanish Town Hospital, Port Maria Hospital, Port Antonio Hospital and the Winchester Medical and Surgical Institute.

Jamaica has one of the highest incidences of sickle cell disease in the world, where one in every one hundred and fifty babies born are affected.

This means over 18,000 Jamaicans are currently living with the debilitating illness, for which no cure has so far been found.

Sevuparin is being tested to determine its efficacy in shortening the 'painful crisis' which is usually experienced by persons with Sickle Cell disease.

The Caribbean Institute of Medical Research, which is conducting the study in Jamaica, says Sevuparin is hailed internationally as an innovative treatment for Sickle Cell.

It says the clinical study began in February and is scheduled to end this December.