Bio Matters: Oklahoma researcher on quest to cure sickle cell disease

Jim Stafford: Persistence leads to funding for research on compound aimed at reversing malady.

Published: Tuesday, August 19, 2014 By: Jim Stafford Source: NewsOK

Late on a Sunday evening in 2009, Robert Broyles, pushed a key on a computer and submitted a grant application to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Then a professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, Broyles was advancing a novel approach to curing a devastating genetic blood disorder called sickle cell disease, which afflicts about 100,000 Americans and an estimated 50 million people worldwide.

The $100,000 grant from the Gates Foundation would allow his Sickle Cell Cure Foundation to continue pre-clinical work on a compound called EDX-17. The EDX-17 therapeutic under development was designed to reverse sickle cell disease and a related disorder called beta-thalassemia, by restoring fetal hemoglobin in adult humans who carry the sickle cell gene.

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