Bipartisan bill aimed at fighting sickle cell disease signed into law by Trump

By Chandelis R. Duster

A bipartisan bill aimed at fighting sickle disease was signed into law by President Donald Trump on Tuesday night.

The Sickle Cell Disease and Other Heritable Blood Disorders Research, Surveillance, Prevention, and Treatment Act of 2018 was introduced by Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Tim Scott, R-S.C. in February and passed in the Senate in October.

The bill also reauthorizes a current sickle cell disease prevention and treatment program for nearly $5 million each year over the next five years.

“Even though sickle cell disease is the most common inherited blood disorder in our country, research and treatment lags behind that of other chronic illnesses,” Booker said in a statement. “Our legislation will help find new ways to improve the lives of people suffering from sickle cell disease. It’s time we start treating sickle cell disease as a serious and debilitating illness and allocate adequate resources to monitoring, researching, and treating it.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sickle cell affects 100,000 Americans — predominantly African-Americans, Latinos and other minority groups. One in 13 African-American babies are born with the inherited lifelong disease in which red blood cells that are normally round and disc-shaped are instead crescent or sickle shaped.