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Grove School Dean Barabino briefs congressional panel on new sickle cell treatment technologies

From left to right: Editas Medicine CEO Katrine Bosley; Northern California Network of Care for Sickle Cell Disease, UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Director Marsha Treadwell; U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D-Ill.); CCNY Grove School of Engineering Dean Gilda Barabino; and National Heart Lung and Blood Institute Division of Blood Diseases Program Director Pankaj Qasba.

Gilda Barabino, dean of the Grove School of Engineering, was one of four experts invited to Washington on July 28 to brief the U.S. Congressional Sickle Cell and Research & Development Caucuses on promising new technologies to treat sickle cell disease.

The briefing, “Gene Editing and the Path to a Cure for Sickle Cell Disease,” provided an opportunity for the researchers to discuss recent breakthroughs in gene-editing technology. Two such technologies are CRISPR/Cas-9 and TALENs, which have made gene editing faster and cheaper. 

“While sickle cell disease is the first molecular disease, having been discovered over 100 years ago, long-lasting treatments and a widely available cure remain elusive,” Barabino told the Congressmembers. “New research discoveries in the application of gene editing tools provide significant advantages compared to previously existing technologies and hold great promise for a cure for sickle cell disease.” 

Barabino also used her time to press the case for diversity in biomedical research.

“The need for funded research and for efforts that bring researchers together with those being served by the research, as well as means to ensure that technological advance reach those who are most in need, is great,” she said. “We also need more opportunities to train a diverse workforce and increase the clinicians, engineers and scientists from underserved and health disparity populations.” 

In addition to Barabino, the researchers invited to brief the caucuses were:  Dr. Marsha Treadwell, director of the Northern California Network of Care for Sickle Cell Disease, UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital in Oakland, Calif.; Dr. Pankaj Qasba, program director at the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute in the division of blood diseases and resources; and Katrine Bosley, CEO of Editas Medicine.

About The City College of New York
Since 1847, The City College of New York has provided low-cost, high-quality education for New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. More than 15,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in the College of Liberal Arts and Science;the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture;the School of Education;the Grove School of Engineering;the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education;and the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership. U.S. News &World Report, Princeton Review and Forbes all rank City College among the best colleges and universities in the United States.

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