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New drug for sickle cell shows promise

Sickle cell anemia affects more than 100,000 people in the United States and millions more around the globe. The genetic disease causes red blood cells to take on a sticky, misshapen form that prevents them from properly carrying oxygen through the body. A new drug, called voxelotor, may change that. In a phase III clinical trial, it boosted levels of hemoglobin—which binds to oxygen inside red blood cells—compared with a placebo, STAT reports. Although outside experts call the increase “modest,” the company behind the drug says it could help reduce the risk of stroke and organ failure in patients, if approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

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