FDA approves first targeted therapy to treat patients with painful complication of sickle cell disease

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Adakveo (crizanlizumab-tmca), a treatment to reduce the frequency of vaso-occlusive crisis - a common and painful complication of sickle cell disease that occurs when blood circulation is obstructed by sickled red blood cells - for patients age 16 years and older. "Hope has never been higher for people living with sickle cell disease and their families and supporters, with a pipeline of new treatments on the horizon, like the one being approved today, and several initiatives underway to better utilize current tools in the battle against the painful and deadly blood disorder," said Acting FDA Commissioner Adm. Brett P. Giroir, M.D. "The opportunity before us in the coming months and years is profound and historic." Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder in which the red blood cells are abnormally shaped (in a crescent or "sickle" shape), which restricts the flow in blood vessels and limits oxygen delivery to the body’s tissues, leading to severe pain and organ damage. It is also characterized by severe chronic inflammation that results in vaso-occlusive crisis where patients experience episodes of extreme pain and organ damage. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevetion, sickle cell disease affects approximately 100,000 Americans. The disease occurs most often in African-Americans, where 1 out of every 365 babies born have the disease. "Adakveo is the first targeted therapy approved for sickle cell disease, specifically inhibiting selectin, a substance that contributes to cells sticking together and leads to vaso-occlusive crisis," said Richard Pazdur, M.D., director of the FDA's Oncology Center of Excellence and acting director of the Office of Oncologic Diseases in the FDA's

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