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Study Description

This study is part of the NHLBI Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) Whole Genome Sequencing Program. TOPMed is part of a broader Precision Medicine Initiative, which aims to provide disease treatments that are tailored to an individual's unique genes and environment. TOPMed will contribute to this initiative through the integration of whole-genome sequencing (WGS) and other -omics (e.g., metabolic profiles, protein and RNA expression patterns) data with molecular, behavioral, imaging, environmental, and clinical data. In doing so, this program aims to uncover factors that increase or decrease the risk of disease, to identify subtypes of disease, and to develop more targeted and personalized treatments. Two genotype call sets derived from WGS are now available, Freeze 5b (GRCh38) and Freeze 8 (GRCh38), with largely overlapping sample sets. Information about how to identify other TOPMed WGS accessions for cross-study analysis, as well as descriptions of TOPMed methods of data acquisition, data processing and quality control, are provided in the accompanying documents, "TOPMed Whole Genome Sequencing Project - Freeze 5b, Phases 1 and 2" and "TOPMed Whole Genome Sequencing Project - Freeze 8, Phases 1-4". Please check the study list at the top of each of these methods documents to determine whether it applies to this study accession.

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is caused by homozygosity for a single mutation of the beta hemoglobin gene. Despite the constancy of this genetic abnormality, the clinical course of patients with SCD is remarkably variable. SCD can affect the function and cause the failure of multiple organ systems through the pathophysiologic processes of vaso-occlusion and hemolysis. These pathophysiological processes are complex and expected to impact multiple organ systems in a variety of ways. This study, therefore, was designed to identify genetic factors that predispose SCD patients to develop specific end-organ complications and to experience more or less severe clinical courses. We enrolled > 700 patients with Hb SS, Hb S-beta0 thalassemia and HbSC being followed primarily at three southeastern U.S. regional institutions (Duke University Medical Center, University of North Carolina Medical Center, and Emory University Medical Center). Medical information obtained included the presence or absence of specific targeted outcomes (overall disease severity as well as specific types of end organ damage). Clinical data include medical status (history, physical, examination, and laboratory results) and information regarding potentially confounding environmental factors. Limited plasma samples are available for correlative studies (e.g. of cytokine levels, coagulation activation). Targeted SNP for candidate gene analysis as well as GWAS has been performed on most samples. Whole genome sequencing has been conducted through the TOPMed Consortium. The subjects in this analysis were collected as part of a larger study, "Outcome Modifying Genes in Sickle Cell Disease" (OMG-SCD) aimed at identifying genetic modifiers for sickle cell disease. More information about the study can be found in Elmariah et al. (2014), PMID: 24478166. Clinical and genetic data have been used to identify genetic characteristics predisposing patients with SCD to a more or less severe overall clinical course as well as to individual organ-specific complications. It is anticipated that identification of such genetic factors will reveal new therapeutic targets individualized to specific complications of SCD, leading to improved outcomes and increased life expectancy for patients with SCD.

Authorized Access
Publicly Available Data
Study Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria

Inclusion Criteria: Adult subjects (≥ 18 years of age at the time of enrollment), diagnosed with sickle cell disease (Hb SS, SC, Sβ0, or Sβ+) by hemoglobin electrophoresis, globin synthesis gene studies, or genetic analysis.

Exclusion Criteria: Blood transfusion within 90 days of enrollment

Selected Publications
Diseases/Traits Related to Study (MeSH terms)
Authorized Data Access Requests
Study Attribution
  • Principal Investigators
    • Marilyn J. Telen, MD. Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA.
    • Allison Ashley-Koch, PhD. Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA.
  • Funding Source
    • HL068959. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.
    • HL079915. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.