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Sickle Cell Disease Research and Clinical Trials

At UPMC, we’re dedicated to developing new and effective therapies for sickle cell disease with the ultimate goal of finding a cure accessible to all. 

Since the scientific community now has a greater understanding of the basic molecular processes and issues associated with sickle cell disease, we can devote many of our research efforts to clinical issues, such as specific treatment therapies, and developing gene-based therapeutics that will lead to a cure.

Experts at the UPMC Adult Sickle Cell Program conduct research studies across many interest areas in hopes of improving the lives of people with sickle cell disease.

Why Are Clinical Trials Important?

Clinical research trials, typically just referred to as clinical trials, play a critical role in the advancement of medical knowledge.

By conducting clinical trials, we can:

  • Learn how a new therapeutic medicine or treatment works in humans.
  • Learn which treatment strategies work well and which do not.
  • Discover new and better ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat complications of sickle cell disease.
  • Get closer to discovering a cure for sickle cell disease and related hemoglobinopathies that will work for a majority of patients.

Adult Sickle Cell Disease Research and Clinical Trials

MRI correlates of accelerated brain aging in sickle cell disease
Who can participate Adults with sickle cell disease.
About the study This observational study investigates a new brain MRI protocol for detecting early evidence of accelerated brain aging and determining how these changes correlate with cognitive impairment in adult sickle cell patients.
Who to contact Caterina Rosano, MD, MPH, Principal Investigator—, 412-383-1294— to learn about eligibility requirements.


Sickle cell transplantation to prevent disease exacerbation (STRIDE) study
Who can participate Young adults, aged 16 to 40, with severe sickle cell disease.
About the study STRIDE is a multicenter study focused on gaining a better understanding of the safety and feasibility of bone marrow transplantation (BMT) in young adults. Patients receive a special medication regimen, reduced intensity conditioning (RIC), prior to the BMT procedure. Using RIC prior to a BMT has worked to cure sickle cell disease in young children with matched sibling donors. The STRIDE study aims to determine if this same strategy can be successful in young adult patients and possibly those without matched family donors. More about STRIDE Phase I and II and the NIH information about the study.
Who to contact Mark Vander Lugt, MD — 412-692-5055 —to learn about eligibility requirements for this study.

Pediatric Sickle Cell Studies at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh

Learn more about pediatric sickle cell studies at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

Not Qualified to Participate in a Clinical Trial?

Logo for Ryan Clark's Cure LeagueEven if you don’t have sickle cell disease, or none of our current research fits your health profile, you can still help in a big way.

The UPMC Adult Sickle Cell Disease Program doctors and researchers invite you to visit Ryan Clark's Cure League — an exciting initiative conceived and championed by Pittsburgh Steelers’ safety and leading tackle, Ryan Clark.

Clark, who carries the sickle cell trait, suffered life-threatening complications after playing a game in Denver, Colorado. The Cure League raises money to fund sickle cell disease research, clinical trials, community outreach, and more.

Learn how you can share your time, talent, and personal resources to help us find new treatments and a cure for this devastating inherited blood disorder.

» Join Ryan Clark's Cure League today!

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