Sickle Cell Disease Clinical Trials: Africa’s Solution
Sickle cell disease is known to be a global disease burden. Reportedly, more than 66% of the 120 million people affected worldwide by sickle cell disease live in Africa and approximately 1000 children are born with the disease every day in Africa, making it the most prevalent genetically acquired disease in the region. Whilst we have learned a significant amount about the disease and how to manage its symptoms, further research and clinical trials are essential if we are to find better treatments and help those with the disease. In this article, we look at what the disease is, how it affects those individuals with the disease, and what makes Africa a key location for sickle cell disease clinical trials.
What is Sickle Cell Disease?
Sickle cell disease is a genetically acquired blood disorder affecting the haemoglobin, a molecule that helps carry oxygen around the body within red blood cells. This mutation causes the red blood cells to become rigid, sticky, and prone to forming a sickle shape. As a result, this can lead to the obstruction of blood flow resulting in a variety of complications including organ damage, anaemia, severe pain and leaving those with the disease at a greater risk of infection when their natural defence mechanisms are inadequate to protect them.
A Global Disease Burden
SCD affects millions of individuals worldwide, predominantly those with ancestry from regions where malaria is or was endemic. It is estimated that around 300,000 babies are born with SCD each year, with most of these cases occurring in sub-Saharan Africa. The disease is also prevalent in other parts of the world, such as the Middle East, India, the Mediterranean, and regions with a substantial concentration of African originated populations, including the United States.
Clinical Trials and Research
Progress in understanding sickle cell disease and effectively addressing its symptoms has elevated the standard of living for individuals affected by this condition. Nevertheless, there remains an imminent requirement for new remedies that target the fundamental root of the ailment. Throughout the years, multiple clinical experiments and investigative attempts have concentrated on the disease, exploring innovative treatments.
Treatments such as stem cell transplantation is believed to offer a potential cure but usually considered only for those who have severe sickle cell disease complications.
Africa: The Optimum Location for Sickle Cell Disease Clinical Trials
With about 80% of sickle cell disease cases occurring in sub-Saharan Africa makes it the ideal location to conduct clinical trials and research studies. Several factors contribute to Africa’s significance in the quest for new treatments:
- Genetic Diversity: Africa is home to diverse populations with varied genetic backgrounds. This can provide valuable insights into the disease and how symptoms and treatments can vary from person to person.
- High Disease Prevalence: Africa has one of the highest disease rates in the world and sickle cell disease disproportionately affects black people in significantly higher numbers than any other ethnicity. By conducting clinical trials in areas where sickle cell disease is prevalent, it becomes possible to gain access to larger pools of participants. This significantly enhances the power of the data gained from the trial results.
- Sizeable Patient Pool: Africa presents a viable remedy for tackling the problem of dwindling numbers of individuals in the United States and Europe who have illnesses requiring further medical research and access to, patient groups are comparatively limited. Africa provides a population that exhibits great willingness to participate in clinical trials.
- Collaborative approach: Collaborating with African researchers, healthcare providers, and communities can unlock untapped resources, knowledge, and perspectives that can act as a catalyst to breakthroughs in sickle cell disease research and treatment. The Clinical Research Society of Kenya (CRSK), a non-profit organization, representing the clinical research community in the East Africa region connects all industry partners and stakeholders within regulatory, academia and research entities to promote positive change and growth within the industry at a local level.
Tackling Sickle Cell Disease with Oximio
With a continent encompassing 54 countries, clinical trials supply chain in Africa may seem daunting with different rules and regulations from country to country, not to mention the many different languages spoken. This can appear complex and challenging, and in some instances, seem impractical to manage for research companies outside the African continent.
Fortunately, Oximio can provide end-to-end supply chain solutions, from start to finish, for clinical trials in Africa. With a coalition of experts across regulatory and logistics we have a robust network, professionally managing advanced supply chain risk procedures.
Our comprehensive clinical trial services include:
- Clinical Trials Logistics
- Sourcing for Clinical Trials
- Patient Focused Services
- Adaptive Logistics for Advanced Therapy
- Office and Customs Bonded Warehouse, Kenya and Office and Warehouse, South Africa.
If you are looking for support with sickle cell disease clinical trials in Africa, please contact us to find out how we can assist with your trial logistics. We would be delighted to discuss your requirements.