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Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center

The UCSF Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center on our Oakland campus is the largest and most complete program for individuals with sickle cell disease and their families in the western United States. Our center has been at the forefront of research into better treatments and potential cures for the disease since its establishment in 1973.

We provide diagnosis, treatment and long-term management for patients of all ages, from babies to adults. Our team of specialists includes hematologists, pediatricians, internists, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, genetic counselors, social workers, psychologists and community health workers.

At UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals, our goal is to help individuals with sickle cell disease and their families achieve the best possible quality of life. We work with each patient and family to develop comprehensive treatment plans and find appropriate strategies for minimizing symptoms and complications. Our psychosocial team can help with advocating to have any special needs met at school or work and with finding additional resources.

In sickle cell disease, a genetic (inherited) defect changes the shape of red blood cells from round to a "C," or sickle, shape. Anemia develops because the C-shaped red blood cells can't carry enough oxygen to the body's organs. Those misshapen cells also get stuck in tiny blood vessels, leading to pain and serious problems.

Early diagnosis and care can slow or prevent some complications. We offer the latest treatments, including hydroxyurea, the first successful medical therapy for the disease, and bone marrow transplantation. We also focus on effective pain management, making individualized pain plans and offering complementary therapies, such as virtual reality massage, biofeedback and acupuncture. In addition, because we are active in research, our patients often have opportunities to take part in clinical trials (studies of promising new treatments).

Care for sickle cell disease is also available at our pediatric Hematology Clinics in San Francisco (at Mission Bay), Oakland, Walnut Creek and Santa Rosa.

Our locations (1)

    Awards & recognition

    • Ranked among the nation's best in 10 specialties

    Recommended reading


    Raising a Child with Sickle Cell Disease: Tips for Parents

    If your child has sickle cell disease, these tips can help you monitor their health, prevent illness and know when to call your child's doctor.

    Plan your visit

    Preparing for your appointment

    What to Bring

    • Photo I.D.
    • Health insurance card
    • Insurance authorization, if required
    • Doctor's referral, if required
    • Recent test results related to your child's condition
    • List of medications, including dosages, plus any your child is allergic to
    • List of questions you may have
    • Device or paper for taking notes

    For visitors

    Before you head to the hospital, check out our guidelines for visitors and caregivers.


    Your Stay

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    Your Child's Care Team

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    Interpreter Services & Communication Assistance

    Interpreter services in many languages and TDDs are available for families that need help communicating with care teams. Here's how to access them.

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    Related clinics (2)

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    Hematology Clinic

    Hematology Clinic

    San Francisco / Oakland / Santa Rosa / Walnut Creek


    Hemoglobinopathy Lab

    Hemoglobinopathy Lab

    747 52nd St.
    Oakland, CA 94609

    Partner clinic (1)


    Stad Center for Pediatric Pain, Palliative & Integrative Medicine

    Stad Center for Pediatric Pain, Palliative & Integrative Medicine

    San Francisco / Oakland / Walnut Creek

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    If your child can't be around other kids for medical reasons, you can sign up for private sessions in our activity and school rooms. Find out how.


    Interpreter Services & Communication Assistance

    Interpreter services in many languages and TDDs are available for families that need help communicating with care teams. Here's how to access them.

    Family Resource Center

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    If you're coming to UCSF from outside the U.S., we coordinate your child's appointments and provide other helpful services. Here's how to get started.

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