New England Sickle Cell Institute (NESCI)
A Comprehensive Approach
The New England Sickle Cell Institute provides care for adult patients with sickle cell disease. Sickle cell disease refers to a group of inherited blood disorders that impact hemoglobin found in red blood cells. Healthy red blood cells are flat, but, in patients with sickle cell disease, the red blood cells are curved (like a sickle), and this curvature can cause blockages and other complications.
Sickle cell disease is present at birth and can cause symptoms throughout the person’s life such as anemia, pain, fatigue, and jaundice. Most people with sickle cell disease will experience symptoms at some point throughout their lives with many symptoms beginning in infants and children. Because of this, most infants in the United States are screened for sickle cell disease at birth.
The New England Sickle Cell Institute is dedicated to providing quality patient care to adults living with sickle cell disease. It operates, in part, thanks to a generous donation from The Lea’s Foundation Center for Hematologic Disorders, a prominent Hartford nonprofit that provides support for blood cancer research efforts to the Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The institute employs hematologists, pain management specialists, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, researchers, and patient navigators who can assist with the medical and emotional needs of our patients with sickle cell disease. The institute also offers simple and exchange blood transfusions, and we are the only site in the region to offer erythrocytapheresis, a procedure that extracts only red blood cells.
Our staff works closely with the pediatric hematologists and others at Connecticut Children's in order to assure a smooth transition of care from adolescent to adult providers. Our staff also collaborates with community-based organizations to aid in the delivery of care and improve the quality of life for individuals with these disorders.
Other services include diagnosis of sickle cell disease, thalassemia, and other red blood cell disorders, ongoing ambulatory care and treatment for patients with sickle cell disease, emergency and ongoing pain management, preventative services, and treatment of priapism (prolonged erection of the penis), chronic ulcers, retinopathy, and other complications.
The UConn Health Specialty Pharmacy can fill any specialty medications prescribed to you by your health care team. In addition to having access to these specialized prescriptions, we can assist with everything from refills to navigating insurance to finding ways to make your prescriptions more affordable. To learn more, visit the Specialty Pharmacy website.
Clinical Trials and Research
In addition, providing the latest in medical care for individuals with sickle cell disease, we also conduct research aimed at developing new treatments for the disease. For more information on research opportunities, please visit the Clinical Research page for a list of ongoing research and clinical trials.
‘Motherhood Is Awesome’ – Sickle Cell Patient Thankful for Healthy Baby Girl
Battling the pain and disability of sickle cell disease since she was a child, Daisha Dillon had long been discouraged from having a baby for fear it would worsen her symptoms. But the team at UConn Health’s New England Sickle Cell Institute and Maternal-Fetal Medicine helped make Daisha’s lifelong dream possible.
Mary Samson, APRN
Teresa Works, LCSW, ACSW, Ph.D. Candidate
In the News
Please follow the links below to obtain up-to-date information from the National Cancer Institute. These links delve into cancer prevention, detection, and treatment, and provide a wealth of additional resources.