Company Also Launches Disease Awareness Campaign to Raise Awareness Among Physicians About the Silent Damage Caused by Sickle Cell Disease
Global Blood Therapeutics, Inc. (GBT) (NASDAQ: GBT), in partnership with sickle cell community-based organizations (CBOs), today announced the launch of Sickle Cell Speaks, a national campaign focused on breaking down stigmas associated with sickle cell disease (SCD).
Sickle Cell Speaks is designed to bring together a community of people, from patients to caregivers to friends and relatives, whose lives are affected by SCD. The campaign shares the individual experiences of those living with SCD through authentic stories from a diverse group of patients and caregivers. Sickle Cell Speaks aims to inspire hope by showcasing stories of strength and to dispel the misconceptions about SCD.
“The sickle cell patient experience is highly varied, and highlighting the personal stories of these individuals, as well as their family and friends, will help grow understanding and awareness of this condition,” said Beverly Francis-Gibson, president and chief executive officer of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America. “We are proud to partner with GBT to help break down stigmas and make our voices heard.”
Additional partners of Sickle Cell Speaks include Sickle Cell Community Consortium, Sickle Cell 101, Bold Lips for Sickle Cell and Sickle Cell Warriors.
“We are partnering with several CBOs representing the sickle cell community to educate people about SCD and to help break down the barriers, particularly the misconceptions and social stigmas, that affect how those with SCD are viewed by society and which ultimately impact patients’ ability to access quality care,” said Ted W. Love, M.D., president and chief executive officer of GBT. “In addition to this patient-focused initiative, we recently launched a separate campaign aimed at engaging health care professionals and facilitating discussion around the root cause and molecular basis of the disease. Together, our patient and physician campaigns underscore GBT’s commitment to bringing together a broad range of stakeholders, with the goal of improving the lives of people living with sickle cell.”
GBT’s health care professional-focused disease awareness campaign, SCD Silent Damage, seeks to increase attention among physicians regarding hemoglobin polymerization, the molecular
basis of SCD that initiates the sickling of red blood cells and the ensuing cascade of clinical complications that drive high levels of morbidity and mortality in patients.
SCD is a rare, inherited disease that affects approximately 100,000 people in the United States. People of African descent make up 90 percent of this population, although it also affects people of Hispanic, South Asian, Southern European and Middle Eastern ancestry.1 Red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body. In people with SCD, the normally round and flexible red blood cells become shaped like crescents because the hemoglobin within them polymerizes to form rods, which deform the cells. These rigid, crescent-shaped cells are not able to pass through small blood vessels and tend to break apart easily, leading to anemia, fatigue, episodes of pain and organ damage.