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Release: Nov. 9, 1999

UI invites people to take part in sickle cell disease study

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa Health Care researchers invite people with sickle cell disease to participate in a study of the effectiveness of Cordox, an experimental sugar-based therapy, in helping treat acute pain episodes.

Participants must be 15 years or older and have experienced associated painful events that require hospitalization. Women must not be pregnant or planning to conceive within 30 days of trial participation. Each individual must be willing to make one visit to the UI Hospitals and Clinics during a painful sickle cell episode and remain there for at least three days after receiving standard narcotic treatment and either the study drug or a placebo.

Sickle cell crises occur when red blood cells change shape, known as sickling. The sickling clogs blood vessels and prevents oxygen from reaching tissues, causing intense pain, infection and other problems. Cordox is reported to increase the energy content of red blood cells and decrease sickling.

The UI is one of several centers nationwide participating in the trial. The UI portion of the study is led by co-investigators Thomas W. Loew, M.D., assistant professor (clinical) of pediatrics, and Raymond L. Hohl, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of internal medicine and pharmacology, and division director of hematology-oncology, blood and marrow transplantation.

"We want to investigate how well the drug is tolerated by patients during sickle cell painful events and how effective the treatment is," Loew said. "The study is also designed to determine the lowest dose of Cordox that can be used to alleviate pain."

He added, "Painful crises are the most common side effect of sickle cell disease. If we can manage these crises better, we will go a long way in helping patients with this life-long disease."

For more information, call Penny Grafton, nurse coordinator for the UI Hemoglobinopathy Program, at (319) 356-1400.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.