Emerging drug targets for sickle cell disease: shedding light on new knowledge and advances at the molecular level.

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Gibson, John S 
Rees, David C 

INTRODUCTION: In sickle cell disease (SCD), a single amino acid substitution at β6 of the hemoglobin (Hb) chain replaces glutamate with valine, forming HbS instead of the normal adult HbA. Loss of a negative charge, and the conformational change in deoxygenated HbS molecules, enables formation of HbS polymers. These not only distort red cell morphology but also have other profound effects so that this simple etiology belies a complex pathogenesis with multiple complications. Although SCD represents a common severe inherited disorder with life-long consequences, approved treatments remain inadequate. Hydroxyurea is currently the most effective, with a handful of newer treatments, but there remains a real need for novel, efficacious therapies. AREAS COVERED: This review summarizes important early events in pathogenesis to highlight key targets for novel treatments. EXPERT OPINION: A thorough understanding of early events in pathogenesis closely associated with the presence of HbS is the logical starting point for identification of new targets rather than concentrating on more downstream effects. We discuss ways of reducing HbS levels, reducing the impact of HbS polymers, and of membrane events perturbing cell function, and suggest using the unique permeability of sickle cells to target drugs specifically into those more severely compromised.

Gárdos channel - cytoskeleton, HbS, KCl cotransport, Psickle, Sickle cell disease, band 3, cation loss - cell volume, expression, permeability, tyrosine kinase, Adult, Humans, Anemia, Sickle Cell, Hydroxyurea
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Expert Opin Ther Targets
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Informa UK Limited
British Heart Foundation (PG/15/118/31966)
Medical Research Council (G0901177)