WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), along with U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), introduced a resolution calling for greater research into sickle cell trait and sickle cell disease, and greater education and screening for sickle cell trait.
“Sickle cell trait can lead to many medical complications – but too often, individuals don’t even know they carry the trait,” said Brown. “As a nation, we must commit ourselves not just to gaining a better understanding of the trait and sickle cell disease through research, but must also develop a better strategy for helping patients understand their trait status and receive the appropriate counseling.”
Sickle cell disease, while considered a rare disease, is the most commonly inherited blood disorder in the United States and affects approximately 100,000 people in the U.S. More than three million people in the U.S. inherit one sickle cell gene, known as sickle cell trait, but are unaware that they have inherited the trait. The trait disproportionately affects African Americans and Hispanic Americans.
One in 12 African Americans and one in 100 Hispanic Americans are at risk for carrying the sickle cell trait. Unfortunately, parents are typically unaware they carry the trait and are only notified of their child’s status approximately 37 percent of the time.
Brown and Scott’s resolution calls for greater research into sickle cell trait and disease. It also recommends that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) expand access to screening and appropriate counseling for carriers of sickle cell trait, as most states lack the appropriate protocol for disseminating results of sickle cell trait status.
Brown continues to fight on behalf of Americans fighting rare diseases. In February, Sen. Brown introduced a Resolution recognizing rare disease day which passed the Senate unanimously. In 2013, the U.S. Congress passed, and President Obama signed into law, the National Pediatric Research Network Act, bipartisan legislation Brown authored that created a more streamlined and efficient system for maximizing pediatric medical research—with an emphasis on rare pediatric diseases.