The Sickle Cell Disease Cycle with Ify Osunkwo, MD


The renowned expert joins to discuss the clinical characteristics, societal burdens, and promising therapy research surrounding the hematologic disease.

About 1 in every 13 Black infants in the US are born with the trait for sickle cell disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Episode highlights

0:16 The discovery of sickle cell disease
3:02 Introducing Ifeyinwa Osunkwo, MD
4:33 Dr. Osunkwo’s background
5:38 The lack of clinical attention to SCD
6:47 Defining sickle cell hemoglobinopathies
8:37 Advancing sickle cell therapies
14:56 The sickle cell treatment game plan
16:45 Stem cell transplant and gene therapy
20:55 Acute chest syndrome presentations
24:37 Treating asthma in sickle cell
26:29 Vaccinating for everything
28:02 Treatment access and cultural stigma issues
32:05 Final thoughts
34:26 Outro

Despite its congenital nature and the well-understood risk factors for sickle cell, diagnosis and screening is still lacking in lesser-resourced parts of Africa and the US alike, as previously covered on HCPLive. What’s more, care teams singularly dedicated to treating patients with sickle cell disease are few and far between.

But as with many health care-related matters of inequity highlighted during Black History Month, there are thought leaders and advocates for action that could lead change in the current and future care of patients, as long as we’re willing to listen. Today’s episode of Lungcast features such a figure in sickle cell.

Ifeyinwa “Ify” Osunkwo, MD, director of Sickle Cell Disease Enterprise at the Levine Cancer Institute and Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at Atrium Health, joins Lungcast to provide a comprehensive breakdown on the clinical manifestations, pulmonary presentations, and societal stigmas of sickle cell disease.

Along the way, the nationally-renowned sickle cell disease expert also discusses advancements in the field—from chronic disease-managing therapies, to the promise of stem cell transplant and gene therapies.

Prior to speaking with Osunkwo, ALA’s Chief Medical Officer Albert Rizzo, MD, shares the history of sickle cell disease’s initial clinical discovery.

Lungcast is a monthly respiratory health podcast series from the ALA produced by HCPLive.

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