NHLBI TOPMed: Outcome Modifying Genes in Sickle Cell Disease (OMG)
Sickle cell disease (SCD) is caused by homozygosity for a single mutation of the beta hemoglobin gene. Despite the constancy of this genetic abnormality, the clinical course of patients with SCD is remarkably variable. SCD can affect the function and cause the failure of multiple organ systems through the pathophysiologic processes of vaso-occlusion and hemolysis. These pathophysiological processes are complex and expected to impact multiple organ systems in a variety of ways. This study, therefore, was designed to identify genetic factors that predispose SCD patients to develop specific end-organ complications and to experience more or less severe clinical courses. We enrolled > 700 patients with Hb SS, Hb S-beta0 thalassemia and HbSC being followed primarily at three southeastern U.S. regional institutions (Duke University Medical Center, University of North Carolina Medical Center, and Emory University Medical Center). Medical information obtained included the presence or absence of specific targeted outcomes (overall disease severity as well as specific types of end organ damage). Clinical data include medical status (history, physical, examination, and laboratory results) and information regarding potentially confounding environmental factors. Limited plasma samples are available for correlative studies (e.g. of cytokine levels, coagulation activation). Targeted SNP for candidate gene analysis as well as GWAS has been performed on most samples. Whole genome sequencing has been conducted through the TOPMed Consortium. The subjects in this analysis were collected as part of a larger study, "Outcome Modifying Genes in Sickle Cell Disease" (OMG-SCD) aimed at identifying genetic modifiers for sickle cell disease. More information about the study can be found in Elmariah et al. (2014), PMID: 24478166. Clinical and genetic data have been used to identify genetic characteristics predisposing patients with SCD to a more or less severe overall clinical course as well as to individual organ-specific complications. It is anticipated that identification of such genetic factors will reveal new therapeutic targets individualized to specific complications of SCD, leading to improved outcomes and increased life expectancy for patients with SCD.