Sickle cell disease and cystic fibrosis are both rare, genetic diseases. While there are three times as many people (predominantly of African ancestry) in the U.S. with sickle cell disease compared to people (predominantly of European ancestry) with cystic fibrosis, research dollars are the same, after tallying federal funding from the National Institutes of Health and disease-specific foundations.
That per-patient funding gap has been known for decades. A new study, published in JAMA Network Open, translated those differing amounts into results: funding for researchers, scientific publications presenting discoveries, and drugs to treat patients. A team led by Duke hematologist John Strouse found a similar number of clinical trials but more scientific papers and drugs for cystic fibrosis.