This six-year study involves 25 sites in the United States, Canada, England, and France. The trial is funded by an $18.5 million National Institutes of Health grant. Michael R. DeBaun, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics and the J.C. Peterson Chair in Pediatric Pulmonology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, is the principal investigator for the study.
The goal of the study is to determine the efficacy of blood transfusion therapy as a treatment for preventing silent strokes. Silent strokes are strokes that do not cause immediately obvious symptoms and frequently go unrecognized. They are one of the most serious afflictions associated with sickle cell disease. They can cause declines in school performance, increased forgetfulness and a diminished ability to follow even simple instructions.
Sickle cell disease, an inherited disorder of the red blood cells, is the most common genetic disorder in African-Americans. The disease affects one in 400 African-American infants. About 22 percent of these children will suffer a silent stroke before they finish high school. Identifying silent strokes are important because preliminary research over the past decade reveals that silent strokes seriously affect children's educational attainment and they remain at increased risk for further neurologic injury.
For further information about sickle cell disease, please continue in our About Sickle Cell Disease section or with the web links provided below. If you'd like to read more about the SIT Study, please open the PDF documents below.