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Prisma Health serves as lead clinical trial site in South Carolina for national sickle cell disease research effort

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

GREENVILLE, S.C.–The Prisma Health Comprehensive Sickle Cell Disease Program will operate as the lead clinical trial site for the South Carolina Sickle Cell Disease Network and the newly launched American Society of Hematology (ASH). This nationwide collaboration of research efforts and clinical trials will help to accelerate drug development for sickle cell disease (SCD). More than 100,000 Americans and an estimated 100 million persons worldwide are affected by this chronic, progressive, and life-threatening, inherited blood disorder.

Alan Anderson, MD“Sickle cell disease has been an overlooked illness for far too long in the United States, and Prisma Health is excited to take the lead on improving clinical care and access to research for those living with the disease across South Carolina,” said Alan R. Anderson, MD, director of the Comprehensive Lifespan Sickle Cell Disease Program at Prisma Health. “As one of the first 10 sites of the American Society of Hematology Sickle Cell Disease Clinical Trials Network, our patients will have early access to clinical trials involving cutting-edge therapies. Additionally, this opportunity will allow us to engage the voice of the SCD community at both the state and national level.”

Collectively, Prisma Health, the South Carolina SCD Network and ASH hope to increase progress by leveraging real-world data, industry sponsors and continuous engagement with the SCD community to facilitate efficient, coordinated clinical trial startups.

Clinical trials are essential for the development of new treatments, and possibly even a cure. While there are currently only four U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drugs to treat sickle cell disease, there is a robust SCD drug development pipeline that will drive demand for clinical trials to a new level, providing a prime opportunity to advance treatment and care of those affected by the disease.

Aviya Baluch, a patient with Prisma Health’s Comprehensive Sickle Cell Disease Program, has directly benefited by participating in SCD clinical trials and has experienced firsthand some of the research that has been done to bring new medications to SCD patients. Most recently, she switched to a new SCD medication that increased her typically low energy to a new level.

“The team at Prisma Health has been amazing helping me live and cope with sickle cell disease. They genuinely want to see me succeed and have introduced new ways to make my life easier, including being a part of these clinical trials,” said Baluch. “My hope is that the knowledge and experiences I gain from my participation will help someone else living with sickle cell disease down the line.”

Engagement with the community has also been foundational to the development of the SCD Clinical Trials Network. The ASH Research Collaborative provides support for SCD Community Advisory Boards to ensure that Network efforts are informed by the needs and desires of individuals living with or caring for those with the disease.

“We’re entering a new era for how clinical trials are designed and conducted, and the ASH Research Collaborative SCD Clinical Trials Network is committed to ensuring that the voice of the SCD community is heard at every stage of the process,” said Martin S. Tallman, MD, president of the ASH Research Collaborative and the American Society of Hematology. “Our goal is to accelerate our ability and bring new treatments to individuals who are living with this difficult disease.”

Stuart Cramer, DOPrisma Health’s Comprehensive Sickle Cell Disease Program is located in Greenville and is one of 10 other clinical research sites across the nation. It will serve as the main clinical trial site in South Carolina, providing administrative expertise and infrastructure support to various clinical research sites within each consortium:

  • Clinical Trials Unit
    • Prisma Health Comprehensive Sickle Cell Disease Program
  • Clinical Research Sites
    • Prisma Health Comprehensive Sickle Cell Disease Program (Upstate)
    • Prisma Health Pediatric Hematology/Oncology (Midlands)
    • Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Pediatric Sickle Cell Disease Program

“Prisma Health’s Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Center in the Midlands is the oldest and largest facility of its kind in South Carolina and we’re proud to serve as one of the clinical research sites,” said Stuart Cramer, DO, medical director of the Children's Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders in Columbia. “This means that SCD patients in the Midlands can be a part of these important clinical trials and have access to new medications and therapies while also receiving top-notch care close to home.”

For more information on the Sickle Cell Disease Clinical Trials Network, visit the ASH website.

About Prisma Health

Prisma Health is a not-for-profit health company and the largest healthcare system in South Carolina. With nearly 30,000 team members, 18 hospitals, 2,947 beds and more than 300 physician practice sites, Prisma Health serves more than 1.2 million unique patients annually. Its goal is to improve the health of all South Carolinians by enhancing clinical quality, the patient experience and access to affordable care, as well as conducting clinical research and training the next generation of medical professionals. For more information, visit

About the ASH Research Collaborative

The ASH Research Collaborative (ASH RC) is a non-profit organization established by the American Society of Hematology (ASH) to improve the lives of people affected by blood diseases by fostering collaborative partnerships to accelerate progress in hematology. The foundation of the ASH RC is its Data Hub and Clinical Trials Network. The Data Hub, a technology platform that facilitates the exchange of information by aggregating and sharing research-grade data on hematologic diseases. The Sickle Cell Disease Clinical Trials Network (CTN) optimizes the conduct of clinical trials research in sickle cell disease (SCD) and leverages the Data Hub to collect key information and identify gaps to advance SCD research and treatment.

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