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Sickle Cell Program

Overview Heading link

Sickle cell disease is due to an inherited defect in the hemoglobin molecule of the red blood cells that leads to serious morbidity and premature mortality. The condition affects millions of people throughout the world, about 100,000 in the United States and 3500 in Illinois. People with sickle cell disease can start having episodes of severe pain after the first few months of life. In addition to hemolytic anemia, complications that can occur include acute chest syndrome, avascular necrosis of the bones, chronic kidney disease, heart failure, pulmonary hypertension and stroke. The Sickle Cell Center of the University of Illinois Chicago is the largest sickle cell program in Illinois with a lifespan approach, caring for over 800 adults and children.

  • We provide comprehensive inpatient and outpatient care with a multidisciplinary team, focusing on relieving pain and preventing complications such as kidney failure and stroke.
  • We have an innovative peripheral blood stem cell transplant program that has cured more than 50 patients in the past several years.
  • We are engaged in research to understand more about the complications of sickle cell disease and to find improved treatment methods.
  • We are pioneering new approaches to adolescent transition, patient education, and care coordination.
  • We have support groups and extensive community outreach.

For half a century, the Sickle Cell Center at the University of Illinois Chicago has been a pioneer in sickle cell research and treatment. Our mission is to improve the quality of life for individuals with sickle cell disease and reduce the complications and mortality of the condition. We provide individualized care for pediatric, transitional, and adult patients in our outpatient clinics, our acute care center for the management of acute pain episodes and our inpatient hospital service. Our hematologists, transfusion specialists, stem cell transplant specialists and sickle cell experts work to help patients with health maintenance and pain management, including the latest medications, blood transfusion and stem cell transplantation. Patients in our program have access to a number of supportive services, including counseling, education and outreach, support groups and national research studies.

Our Goals and Vision Heading link

We wish to provide compassionate care and state-of-the art treatment for sickle cell individuals, and to lead in research to understand and find new treatments for sickle cell disease and its complications. Our goals are:

  • Expert management of sickle cell disease and its complications in our outpatient clinics and inpatient hospital service.
  • Rapid and effective management of uncomplicated pain crises in our Acute Care Center.
  • Cure through stem cell transplantation for qualifying patients with appropriate donors.
  • Access to experts in blood transfusion, cardiology, nephrology, neurology, ophthalmology, pulmonary medicine, orthopedics, ophthalmology and other specialties.
  • Long-term commitment to improve the quality of life of our patients.
  • Develop new treatments for sickle cell disease and its complications.
  • Conduct molecular, genetic, and translational research to increase our understanding of sickle cell disease and lay the foundation for developing new treatments and cures.
  • Provide best practices in care and improve care delivery.
  • Engage with communities for sickle cell awareness and advocacy.

Faculty Heading link

Administrative Staff Heading link

Erika Galvez
Phone: 312-996-5680

Contact Us Heading link

  • Administrative Office

    Clinical Research Building
    820 S Wood St.
    Chicago, IL 60612
    Phone: 312-996-5680

  • Clinic Office

    University of Illinois Hospital
    1740 W. Taylor, Suite 5E
    Chicago, IL 60612
    Phone: 312-413-8666