On December 20, the FDA placed a partial hold on bluebird bio’s clinical program for lovotibeglogene autotemcel (lovo-cel) gene therapy, temporarily stopping testing on study volunteers under age 18. This partial hold was a response to the investigation of one adolescent with sickle cell disease who has persistent anemia (not dependent on transfusion) a year and a half following treatment. Read more.

Adults can continue enrollment and treatment in bluebird bio studies. Other clinical research studies of gene therapy for sickle cell disease are continuing.

The clinical research process has many built-in safety precautions, which include the partial hold implemented by the FDA. MARAC will continue to monitor the situation closely on behalf of the individuals and families living with sickle cell disease.