Sickle cell anaemia – a rare disease of increasing global importance

By Professor Thomas Williams, Chair in Haemoglobinopathy Research, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medicine

Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is the commonest serious genetic condition of humans. The disease is caused by an inherited defect in haemoglobin, the red pigment within red cells that is important for the carriage of oxygen in the blood, and results in a life-long illness characterised by recurrent pain, ill health and chronic anaemia.