NHBLI TOPMed: Pharmacogenomics of Hydroxyurea in Sickle Cell Disease (PharmHU)
Sickle cell disease (SCD) is characterized by the presence of sickle hemoglobin (HbS) within circulating erythrocytes resulting in hemolytic anemia, vascular occlusion, and end organ damage due to alterations in the shape and deformability of the cell membrane. The disease is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern, and is most commonly caused by a single nucleotide substitution in the hemoglobin subunit beta (HBB) gene located on chromosome 11. Participants in this study include children with SCD treated with hydroxyurea to pharmacologically increase fetal hemoglobin (HbF) levels and reduce disease severity. Therefore, the primary phenotype of interest in this study is the change in HbF levels in response to hydroxyurea treatment. Genetic factors have been shown to influence inter-individual variation in drug response, and identification of novel genes and variants associated with clinical outcomes in SCD will be achieved through collaboration between Baylor College of Medicine, Augusta University, Columbia University Medical Center, Emory University School of Medicine and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The NHLBI TOPMed Program is designed to generate scientific resources to enhance understanding of fundamental biological processes that underlie heart, lung, blood and sleep disorders (HLBS). It is part of a broader Precision Medicine Initiative, which aims to provide disease treatments that are tailored to an individual's unique genes and environment.