Currently, the only known cure for sickle cell disease is bone marrow or stem cell transplant. Bone marrow is the soft tissue inside the bones that makes blood cells. A bone marrow transplant is a procedure that takes healthy bone marrow cells from a person who does not have sickle cell disease (the donor) and gives them to the person who has sickle cell disease (the recipient) to replace the bone marrow that is making sickle cells.
Bone marrow transplantation is a major undertaking and can have serious side effects. As medical advances are made, bone marrow transplantation for sickle cell disease has become increasingly safe for children. It is an option for some children under the right circumstances. For the transplant to work, the bone marrow must come from someone who is a close match, usually a healthy sibling who has the same set of parents as the child with sickle cell disease. The pediatric bone marrow transplant team at Vanderbilt has performed transplants on children with sickle cell disease in the past several years with success, and continues to offer bone marrow transplantation to children with appropriate sibling donors.
To learn more about bone marrow transplantation for sickle cell anemia, please contact a member of the Sickle Cell Anemia and Hemoglobinopathy Program or the Pediatric Stem Cell Transplant Program.
© 2014 Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt