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MIT Research News

September 3, 2018

How sickled red blood cells stick to blood vessels

Analysis of blood from patients with sickle-cell disease reveals how cell clumping begins.

Anne Trafton | MIT News Office

One of the most common complications of sickle-cell disease occurs when deformed red blood cells clump together, blocking tiny blood vessels and causing severe pain and swelling in the affected body parts.

A new study from MIT sheds light on how these events, known as vaso-occlusive pain crises, arise. The findings also represent a step toward being able to predict when such a crisis might occur.