Sickle cell patients may require chronic blood transfusions to treat their disease, and many feel the most healthy after they receive blood. Since 44% of African Americans have Ro blood, providing matched Ro blood to sickle cell patients may provide a safer blood transfusion and additional benefits, including:
- Increased life expectancy
- Stroke prevention
- Fewer trips to the emergency room
- Pain reduction
- Enhanced quality of life
Ro blood cannot be created in a lab; it is only available as a result of the generosity of people like you. As an Ro donor, you are special; you serve a unique need, and you have the power to save the lives of sickle cell patients in your community.
Marqus Valentine has beaten sickle cell disease – and the odds. Many sickle cell patients do not live into adulthood. Marqus has made it into his 30s thanks to the generosity of blood donors, who have helped him receive more than 500 life-saving donations during his life.
Sickle Cell Disease Research
Investigators at Versiti’s Blood Research Institute are on the forefront of blood health advances for a variety of conditions, including sickle cell disease (SCD), which affects 1 in 400 African American newborns in the United States. SCD causes a patient’s red blood cells to become misshapen, impeding their ability to deliver oxygen throughout the body. They block the flow of blood, often causing debilitating pain.
Versiti conducts a variety of clinical research in SCD for both adult and pediatric patients, helping to diagnose and treat their disease. Blood Research Institute Investigator Joshua Field, MD, has made it his life’s mission to better the lives of patients suffering from SCD. In addition to his groundbreaking research at the BRI, he regularly treats patients at the Adult Sickle Cell Clinic, helping to manage their condition.
Clinical Treatment for Sickle Cell Patients
In collaboration with local hospitals, Versiti contributes to the operation of clinics that provide comprehensive patient care for adults and children with sickle cell disease.
The Adult Sickle Cell Clinic, located at Froedtert Hospital, is the only one of its kind in Wisconsin. Established in 2011, it provides comprehensive care for adult patients with SCD, including blood transfusions, pain management, preventative treatment and other therapies.
Additionally, the Sickle Cell Center at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin provides a comprehensive care model for roughly 400 children with SCD each year. It offers both inpatient and outpatient treatment, and healthcare providers and scientists from seven departments at the Medical College of Wisconsin participate in research activities.
The Importance of Donor Screening
Blood donor screening is the backbone of transfusion medicine, and Versiti’s labs have distinguished us as the go-to resource for matching patients with donated blood. When patients receive blood transfusions, they are exposed to different antigens, which stimulate the creation of antibodies. Our state-of-the-art genotyping test has identified 44 different blood group antigens, helping us ensure that chronically transfused patients—like those with sickle cell disease—receive perfectly matched blood products.
Versiti is proud to maintain the largest known pool of more than 100,000 genotyped donors, and has received awards from the American Rare Donor Program for providing the greatest number of rare blood units. With the combined expertise of Versiti blood centers, we possess an unrivaled ability to comprehensively support more than 10 different sickle cell disease programs across the United States.
Schedule your Donation