Sickle cell disease (SCD) is one of the most frequently inherited diseases but it no longer only affects children. More and more patients survive well into adulthood. They experience repeated acute complications and inevitably develop chronic organ damage. For years, hydroxyurea and chronic transfusions were the only disease-modifying options in the treatment of SCD patients. Thanks to a better understanding of the pathophysiology, new components have been and are now being tested. Three of these are already used in clinical practice, namely L-glutamine, crizanlizumab and voxelotor. On the other hand, progress has also been made in the field of haematopoietic stem cell transplantation, through the introduction of alternative donors as well as the use of less toxic conditioning regimens. Finally, hopeful results are being achieved in the first studies of gene therapy in patients with SCD but it has yet to be proven that genetically manipulated stem cells maintain the long-term repopulation potential.
(BELG J HEMATOL 2021;12(7):290–5)