Nature Outlook |

Sickle-cell disease

Everyone wants the best for their children, but sometimes biological miscues obstruct that hope. This is true for sickle-cell disease, a disorder in which red blood cells take on an abnormal shape — leading to pain, organ damage and shorter lives.

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A condition that affects many people of African descent is finally meeting its therapeutic match.

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A growing number of promising treatments is set to bring hope to people living with the disease.

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Sickle cell disease includes genetic conditions that are caused by mutations in one of the genes encoding haemoglobin. Mutant haemoglobin molecules can polymerize, causing the red blood cells to acquire a characteristic crescent shape that gives the disease its name.

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