A national sickle cell disease study involving Medical University of South Carolina researchers found that for some children with sickle cell disease, the drug hydroxyurea is as effective as blood transfusions to reduce blood flow speeds in the brain. Increased blood flows are a major risk factor for stroke in these children.

Study findings were published Dec 6 in The Lancet and were presented at the American Society of Hematology meeting.

Study authors indicated that the findings suggest that hydroxyurea could be effective at reducing risk of stroke for other patient populations, though this was not a primary goal of the study.