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Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center is an international leader in improving treatment and quality of life for children affected by sickle cell diseases.

At Dana-Farber/Boston Children's, children with sickle cell disease have access to world-renown hematologists, top-rated nursing care, and the latest treatment options including stem cell transplantation. From your first visit, you'll work with a team of professionals who are committed to supporting all of your family's physical and psychosocial needs. We'll work with you to create a care plan that's best for your child.

Through our Sickle Cell Disease Program, we treat sickle cell anemia (HbSS), sickle cell with hemoglobin C disease (HbSC), hemoglobin S-beta-thalassemia, and less common compound forms, including HbSD, HbSO and HbSE.


Our team is leading the way in sickle cell disease research and care.

In the setting of one of the world’s most extensive pediatric research hospitals, we apply a science-driven approach to sickle cell disease treatment. Dana-Farber/Boston Children's was one of the original National Institutes of Health-funded comprehensive sickle cell centers in the United States, and a site for the Sickle Cell Disease Clinical Research Network. Our researchers conduct clinical and laboratory studies to increase and enhance knowledge of sickle cell disorders and treatment. We make it a priority to stay at the forefront of scientific research and clinical care, and to advise families and referring physicians about the latest treatment options and clinical trials for sickle cell disease.

In the 1980s, our physicians were the first to recognize the potential of hydroxyurea to treat sickle cell disease and to use the medication in children. Today, our researchers continue to work on developing new methods of diagnosing and treating sickle cell disease, including stem cell research, stem cell transplantation, and gene therapy. Contact us to learn about our current sickle cell disease clinical trials.

Stem Cell

Right now, the only cure for sickle cell disease is stem cell transplant. Because stem cell transplant also carries risk, it is recommended only for severe cases. Dana-Farber/Boston Children's has one of the largest pediatric stem cell transplant programs in the United States. Our Stem Cell Transplant Center is at the forefront of new, improved protocols for stem cell transplantation for blood-related disorders, including sickle cell disease.

Other treatments, which are aimed at relieving symptoms or preventing complications, include:

  • Prevention of infection – preventive penicillin before age 5 and routine vaccinations
  • Hydroxyurea therapy – an oral medication that can decrease the frequency and severity of pain crises
  • Blood transfusion / iron chelation – to prevent severe anemia and risk of stroke. Iron chelation is often required to prevent iron toxicity from chronic blood transfusions

New treatments developed at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's and other major research centers are prolonging and improving quality of life for patients with sickle cell disease. Life expectancy is now near 50 years, although older patients may face medical problems.

Know Your Options

Contact us

To learn more about sickle cell clinical trials, stem cell transplantation, or other treatment options for sickle cell disease, please contact us using the form to your right. It is important that you understand the full range of treatment options for your child.

About us

Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center provides the combined strengths of two internationally renowned Harvard teaching hospitals. Since the 1940s, when Sidney Farber achieved the first remissions of acute lymphocytic leukemia in children, pioneering physician researchers at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s have been at the forefront of life-saving breakthroughs in the fight against pediatric cancer and blood disorders. A single team of experts delivers care at our Boston campus, where Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children's Hospital are connected by pedestrian bridges.

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