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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the authors' final version prior to publication in Expert Opinion on Emerging Drugs

Volume 20, Issue 1, March 2015, Pages 47-61.

The published version is available at DOI: 10.1517/14728214.2015.985587. Copyright © Informa


INTRODUCTION: The search for effective therapeutic interventions for sickle cell disease (SCD) has been an ongoing endeavor for over 50 years. During this period, only hydroxyurea (HU), which received US FDA approval in February 1998, was identified as an effective therapeutic agent in preventing or ameliorating the frequency of vaso-occlusive crises, acute chest syndrome and the need for blood transfusion. Approximately 25% of patients with sickle cell anemia (SCA), however, do not respond to HU and some patients experiencing serious side effects of this chemotherapeutic agent. Nevertheless, the success of HU opened the sluice gates to identify other effective drug therapies. The objective of this review is to describe the emerging drug therapies for SCA.

AREAS COVERED: In this review, we describe the pathophysiology of SCD and provide an in-depth analysis of the current and new pharmacologic therapies in the field. Literature searches involved multiple databases including Medline In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations, MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and Scopus.

EXPERT OPINION: SCA is a heterogeneous disease that has caused tremendous global morbidity and early mortality. More effective, individualized and inexpensive therapies are needed. New therapies targeting multiple pathways in its complex pathophysiology are under investigation.

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