MEET THE 17-YEAR OLD STUDYING CHRONIC PAIN IN SCD
Managing chronic pain is one of the biggest issues in sickle cell disorder, it accounts for the majority of hospitalizations in people living with sickle cell disorder and for much of financial expense during those hospital visits. Regular research cannot but go into this all-important area.
One of the individuals that are helping to find a better deal in the management of vaso-occlusive pain crisis is 17-year old Aithanh Nguyen who recently made an engaging presentation at the 2018 annual meeting of the American Society of Haematology in last December’s #ASH18. Her study examined a potential biomarker for chronic pain in sickle cell disorder.
Aithanh is the youngest scientist to grace such a big platform to present her research findings of a potential new mechanism for pain in sickle cell disease. She said: ‘I study chronic pain in sickle cell disease. Currently, one of the treatments for chronic pain in sickle cell disease is opioid therapy, which has a negative impact on patients. Therefore, people are trying to find an alternative. What we found was a drug that reduces inflammation and may be a biomarker for pain in sickle cell disease.’ Her interest in medical research was sparked by STEM programs and a summer internship in a haematology lab at the University of Minnesota led by Dr.Kalpna Gupta.
Prior to the red letter day, the science prodigy elated at the development also expressed her nervousness about delivering her speech before older, more experienced scientists.