Medical College and BloodCenter Researcher to Study Treatment for Sickle Cell Disease

Written by admin   // December 29, 2011   // 0 Comments

The Medical College of Wisconsin and BloodCenter of Wisconsin have received a three-year, $486,000 grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to study a new treatment for sickle cell disease. 

Joshua J. Field, M.D., associate investigator at the Blood Research Institute at the BloodCenter of Wisconsin, and an assistant professor of medicine in the division of hematology and oncology at Medical College of Wisconsin, will collaborate with Jonathan Lindner, M.D., Oregon Health and Science University, as principal investigators of the grant. 

With this grant, Dr. Field will investigate a sensitive imaging technique called contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEU) in order to determine the efficacy of an investigational anti-inflammatory drug, regadenoson, and the standard of care drug, hydroxyurea, in patients with sickle cell disease.

Dr. Field specializes in the treatment of sickle cell disease and other benign hematological disorders at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and Froedtert Hospital. “It is apparent that new therapies are necessary to advance patient care and management of sickle cell disease.  We hope to utilize CEU measurements to provide evidence that regadenoson increases blood flow to the muscles, thereby lessening intensity and frequency of sickle cell crises,” he said.  

Sickle cell disease is a genetic disorder affecting hemoglobin, which are the protein molecules in red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the bloodstream.  In sickle cell disease, healthy blood cells become deformed and rigid, leading to blockages in the blood vessels.  Sickle cell affects one in 400 African-American newborns in the United States.  The disease can be managed with preventive and supportive therapies, but there are few objective measures to determine if treatments are working.

“Research has always been a vital part of our mission, so we are extremely proud of the contributions being made by Dr. Field,” says BloodCenter of Wisconsin president and CEO, Jackie Fredrick.  “We are dedicated to the discovery efforts that will lead to speedier diagnoses, improved treatments, and ultimately, cures to help people in our community, across the nation and around the world.”

This study is one of nine being funded this year by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s Medical Research Program.  The grants are the product of the 2011 competition for the Doris Duke Innovations in Clinical Research Award, which invited proposals for cutting edge, clinical research focused on making advancements in sickle cell anemia.

About the Medical College of Wisconsin

The Medical College of Wisconsin is the state’s only private medical school and health sciences graduate school.  Founded in 1893, it is dedicated to leadership and excellence in education, patient care, research and service. More than 1,200 students are enrolled in the Medical College’s medical school and graduate school programs.  A major national research center, it is the largest research institution in the Milwaukee metro area and second largest in Wisconsin. In FY 2010 – 11, faculty received more than $175 million in external support for research, teaching, training and related purposes, of which more than $161 million is for research. This total includes highly competitive research and training awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  Annually, College faculty direct or collaborate on more than 2,000 research studies, including clinical trials. Additionally, more than 1,250 physicians provide care in virtually every specialty of medicine for more than 400,000 patients annually.

About BloodCenter of Wisconsin

BloodCenter of Wisconsin is a private, not-for-profit organization that specializes in blood collection, organ and tissue recovery, marrow donation and education, diagnostic testing, medical services and leading-edge research. BloodCenter of Wisconsin is the only provider of blood to hospitals in 29 Wisconsin counties including all community hospitals in Southeastern Wisconsin. BloodCenter of Wisconsin advances patient care by delivering life-saving solutions grounded in unparalleled medical and scientific expertise. For more information, visit


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