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Sharing the Latest Advances Across the Globe
Fourth Annual Advanced Workshop on Sickle Cell Disease

October, 2012 – On October 18th and 19th, Children’s Hospital Research Center Oakland hosted the 4th Annual Advanced Workshop on Sickle Cell Disease. An international conference led by CHORI Senior Scientist and Director of Hematology/Oncology at the hospital, Elliott Vichinsky, MD, the two-day workshop is an intensive educational and interactive gathering of hematologists from across the globe, with researchers hailing from as close by as Mexico and Canada, to as far away as Israel and Saudi Arabia.

“The conference is designed to share the latest advances in treatment and cures with international program directors,” explains Dr. Vichinsky. “Each of the participants is an expert in their own right and shares the clinical and epidemiologic data from their region as well as their therapeutic advances.”

“Each of the participants is an expert in their own right and shares the clinical and epidemiologic data from their region as well as their therapeutic advances.”

Approximately 100,000 people in the United States are living with sickle cell disease today, while each year, there are more than 300,000 sickle cell disease births worldwide. An inherited blood disorder that without treatment is fatal, even with treatment sickle cell disease causes a host of complications, from pneumonia to stroke.

“Through this workshop, we are able to develop new relationships and strengthen existing relationships between Children's and countries with sickle cell disease," says Dr. Vichinksy. "Through collaborative meetings like this conference, we are able to improve care worldwide.”

While providing didactic and round-table discussions, the program also trains participants in transcranial doppler ultrasonography and other diagnostic and clinical tools. The conference has become widely recognized, and as a result participation is limited in order to maximize training and information sharing.

"This year's meeting was particularly productive and included 40 physicians and scientists from around the world," says Dr. Vichinsky. "Keynote topics in the plenary session included novel approaches to sickle cell disease and its vasculopathy by CHORI Associate Scientist Carolyn Hoppe, PhD, and a new understanding of the pathophysiology of sickle cell disease by CHORI Senior Scientist Frans Kuypers, PhD."

In addition to a wide range of researchers from Children's, including CHORI Scientist Mark Walters, MD, who directs the Blood & Marrow Transplant Program at the hospital and discussed the latest advances in transplantation, and CHORI Clinical Scientist Paul Harmatz, MD, who discussed the iron overload, speakers included faculty from the California Department of Health and Genetics Division, University of California San Francisco, and Blood Centers of the Pacific.

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