sickle cell

India Hardy has lived with pain since she was a toddler — from dull persistent aches to acute flare-ups that interrupt the flow of her normal life.

The pain is from sickle cell disease, a group of genetic conditions that affect about 100,000 people in the U.S., many of them of African or Hispanic descent.

Sitting in the afternoon heat on her mom's porch in Athens, Ga., Hardy remembers how a recent "crisis" derailed her normal morning routine.

Increasingly, sickle cell anemia patients in the U.S. are moving away from blood transfusions and instead using a medicine called Hydroxyurea to control their disease and eliminate the symptoms. Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center researchers are perfecting a technique that determines the correct dosage for each patient in one day.

Doctor Emily Meier usually practices hematology at the Indiana Hemophilia and Thrombosis Center in Indianapolis. But four times a year Meier and her team drive two hours north to Lake County, Indiana and host a clinic for children diagnosed with sickle cell disease.