11th Annual Conference Being Held This Sickle Cell Awareness Month

Sept. 14 conference open to public, to be live-streamed

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by Somi Igbene, PhD |

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The 11th Annual Sickle Cell Disease Therapeutics Conference, to be held virtually on Sept. 14 — at the heart of this National SCD Awareness Month — will focus on the latest advances and future trends for treating patients with sickle cell disease (SCD).

The conference will be hosted by the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America (SCDAA) and Global Blood Therapeutics (GBT).

Open to the public, the event will be live-streamed on the conference’s website and the Sickle Cell Warriors’ Facebook page.

“Each year, the SCD Therapeutics Conference highlights the growing interest and progress that is being made to improve the treatment of sickle cell disease,” Kim Smith-Whitley, MD, GBT’s executive vice president and head of research and development, said in a press release.

“More is needed to achieve equitable health and personal outcomes for this community,” Smith-Whitley added.

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This year’s keynote speaker for the conference is Rachel Levine, MD, assistant secretary for health with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Billed as a devoted health and well-being advocate, Levine and her agency say they are working to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic — and to create a stronger foundation for a healthier future for all U.S. citizens.

The event is divided into four sessions, and will include panel discussions on varying topics, featuring physicians, patients, caregivers, advocates, and policymakers. Different sessions will focus on the impact of SCD on patients and caregivers, caregivers’ experience throughout the whole spectrum of care, and the national SCD legislative agenda.

“We are excited for the opportunity to bring together leading physicians, warriors, advocates, and policymakers to discuss the next frontiers in SCD and how we can continue to drive meaningful change in the community,” said Regina Hartfield, SCDAA’s president and CEO.

Pharmaceutical companies developing treatments for SCD also will participate in the conference. Among them are Agios Pharmaceuticals, CSL Behring, Forma Therapeutics, GBT, Graphite Bio, Pfizer, and Vertex Pharmaceuticals/CRISPR Therapeutics. A detailed conference schedule outlines the session and their speakers.

“This year’s conference will allow today’s leaders in SCD the opportunity to discuss current unmet needs and recent trends in therapeutic development, all with the goal of building access to comprehensive care to enable a better future for people living with sickle cell,” Hartfield said.

For 2022, the conference is being sponsored by Thermo Fisher Scientific, Real Chemistry, M Booth, Sheppard Mullin, and the Marsh McLennan Agency.

“We are honored to again co-host the conference with the SCDAA and livestream the event with the Sickle Cell Warriors in order to advance the dialogue around addressing the multitude of opportunities we have to improve the outlook for people living with sickle cell disease,” Smith-Whitley said.