Dr. Indira Sahdev keynotes QSCAN banquet

The Queens Sickle Cell Advocacy Network Inc (QSCAN) will hold its 10th Annual Scholarship and Awards Banquet on Sunday Dec. 12 from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Antun’s of Queens Village, 96-43 Springfield Boulevard, N.Y.

The banquet honors distinguished leaders at the forefront in the fight against Sickle Cell Disease.

“2010 is a particularly meaningful year in the sickle cell community as it marks the 100th anniversary of the discovery of the Sickle Cell gene,” says Jamaican native Gloria Rochester, a Queens resident and founder of QSCAN, who founded the New York Chapter of the National Sickle Cell Disease Association of America founded in 1989, in response to her daughter’s SCD diagnosis soon after emigrating to the U.S.

The organization has been a source of education, comfort and hands-on action in Queens, and has recently moved to new, expanded headquarters in Hollis. The non-profit organization offers a multiplicity of services to the SCD community.

“ Contrary to conventional wisdom,” says Rochester, SCD, while predominantly affecting those of African descent, also strikes at Hispanics, South Asians and any population with descendants from the equatorial belt.

“Being based in Queens, QSCAN is in the unique position to provide aid and education in the borough with the largest Caribbean, Hispanic and South Asian populations in New York,” she said.

Breakthrough In The Search For A Cure

Keynote Speaker Dr. Indira Sahdev has clinical expertise in the area of pediatric hematopoietic stem cell transplant over the past 20 years within the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, specifically Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York (formerly Schneider Children’s Hospital).

Dr. Sahdev is an Associate Professor of pediatrics. She was trained at Memorial Sloane Kettering, NYC, and has performed a number of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplants for patients with sickle cell disease.

At present, she is using the reduced intensity protocol with success at Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York. Her dedication, compassion and care provided to her patients remains unmatched.

Bone marrow transplant is known to eliminate Sickle Cell disease, thus halting potential/existing organ damage caused by the disease. Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant has proven to be successful in approximately 85 percent of those transplanted.

Patients are carefully selected for bone marrow transplantation. The ideal time to transplant a child with severe disease is when s/he is young, and before advanced organ damage has occurred. Thus bone marrow transplantation has a role for a select group of patients with sickle cell disease.

The complications from a traditional bone marrow transplant can be life-threatening. There is a new approach known as reduced-intensity conditioning. This conditioning refers to chemotherapy in reduced doses in combination with immunosuppressive drugs instead of traditional high doses of chemotherapy. This conditioning regimen is less toxic and reduces the risk of potential complications. The reduced intensity regimen offers hope for a cure to the patients with severe sickle cell disease.

The organization is encouraging the community to express its support by coming out and attending the banquet and learning more about how to help combat this insidious disease

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