Sickle Cell Anemia Center
The Comprehensive Center for Sickle Cell Disease, located at our Oakland campus, offers the largest and most comprehensive program for sickle cell disease patients in the western United States. Established in 1973, we've been at the forefront of research advancing the search for better treatments and a cure for more than 45 years.
We provide diagnosis, treatment and long-term health care management for patients of all ages, from babies to young adults. Our team of specialists includes hematologists, pediatricians, internists, nurse practitioners, genetic counselors, social workers and psychologists.
At UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals, our goal is to help your child and family achieve the best possible quality of life. We work with you to develop a comprehensive treatment plan, as well as strategies to minimize symptoms and complications. Our psychosocial team can help you advocate for your child's special needs with schools and employers, and find other 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 C-shaped cells can't carry enough oxygen to the organs of the body. They also get stuck in tiny blood vessels, which leads to pain and more serious problems.
Early diagnosis and treatment can slow or prevent some complications. We offer the latest promising treatments, including hydroxyurea, the first successful medical therapy for the disease, and bone marrow transplants. We're also exploring better pain management, such as using ketamine to reduce opioid usage and complementary therapies like virtual reality and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and massage. In addition, our patients have the opportunity to take part in clinical trials.
Patients can also receive care for sickle cell disease in San Francisco and elsewhere at one of UCSF's several Pediatric Hematology Clinics.
Our locations (1)
Awards & recognition
Ranked among the nation's best in 10 specialties
Plan your visit
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
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