What is sickle cell disease?
Sickle cell disease, which affects one in 400 African-American newborns in the United States, is a genetic disorder of hemoglobin (the protein in blood which carries oxygen). It causes red blood cells to take on a sickle, or crescent shape. The sickle cells interact with other cells in the blood, leading to blockages within the blood vessels, and ultimately causing inflammation.
How does it affect people?
Sickle cell patients can suffer excruciating pain crises as well as long-term damage to vital organs because of decreased blood flow and inflammation.
The two most common ailments in sickle cell disease include pain episodes (also referred to as sickle cell crises) and acute chest syndrome (ACS). These conditions are caused by inflammation and blockages in blood vessels. There are few specific therapies available to acutely treat sickle cell crises or ACS.
Tell us about your research.
The goal of my research is to give people with sickle cell disease new treatments that will help ease their suffering.
The research, entitled “A Phase II, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Regadenoson in Sickle Cell Anemia,” will look at the effectiveness of regadenoson (Lexiscan) in treating sickle cell crises. The drug has an FDA-approved indication for use in cardiac stress testing; but we have discovered that the drug may also be useful as a powerful anti-inflammatory drug when given as a slow IV infusion.
The hope is that the study will provide further insight as to whether regadenoson is effective and could be used as a therapy for individuals experiencing sickle cell crises.
Where did you study?
I graduated from medical school from the University of Iowa. I completed an internal medicine residency and fellowships in hematology and transfusion medicine at Washington University in St. Louis, where I was chief resident in internal medicine and chief fellow in hematology and oncology.
Joshua Field, MD, is a medical director at BloodCenter of Wisconsin, investigator at the Blood Research Institute, and associate professor of medicine within the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW). He is the founder of the Adult Sickle Cell Disease Clinic at Froedtert Hospital, where he treats 350 adults living with sickle cell disease. Dr. Field has been named a recipient of BizTimes Media’s 2012 Health Care Heroes Award for his research and work with sickle cell patients. He is also a recipient of MCW’s Excellence in Professionalism Award and MCW’s Eggstrom Award for Clinical Contribution.
Versiti is home to world-renowned blood health innovators.
Versiti Blood Research Institute and Medical Sciences Institute are located on the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center campus in Wauwatosa, Wisc. Their 40 investigators are internationally known blood health innovators whose work spans basic, translational and clinical research in a variety of areas, including: sickle cell disease, hemophilia, cellular therapy and many more.
Additionally, Versiti Comprehensive Center for Bleeding Disorders (CCBD) provides diagnosis and ongoing medical and supportive care for patients with disorders that affect bleeding and clotting. Physicians work closely with these patients and are able to take what they learn in the clinical setting to the lab, where they partner with basic researchers to develop innovative treatments.