When a routine newborn screening showed that Cedric had sickle cell disease, his family was referred immediately to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. St. Jude has one of the largest pediatric sickle cell disease programs in the country. Because people with sickle cell disease are prone to infections — some of which can be life-threatening — St. Jude doctors initially placed Cedric on penicillin.
When he was about 3 years old, Cedric was enrolled in a study testing hydroxyurea in the treatment of pediatric sickle cell patients. At the end of the study, Cedric was doing so well, his parents decided to continue with hydroxyurea, which reduces both sickling of cells and many of the major complications of sickle cell disease.