Blood runs through every organ and tissue in our bodies, and it contains cells and molecules that are vital to our health and well-being.

Because blood performs a wide variety of essential functions in the body, any abnormality found in the blood can affect a person’s overall health in a number of ways. For example, a patient with sickle cell disease is at risk for a multitude of other health complications, including organ damage and stroke. However, few people understand the complexities that surround this disease and other blood disorders that affect millions of people around the world.

Remarkable advances

For more than 50 years, hematologists have made momentous strides in research. These advancements have led to the diagnosis and to the effective treatment and prevention of many serious, costly blood disorders like leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, hemophilia, blood clots and sickle cell disease.

"Blood health goes way beyond the concept of disease and clinical care."

Due to research breakthroughs in hematology, bone marrow transplantation has become a curative treatment for some cancers and other deadly diseases of the blood. Children are now routinely cured of acute lymphocytic leukemia, which is a blood cancer that as recently as the 1960s had a 100-percent fatality rate. Additionally promising is the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia in adults, which can now be treated with a daily, well-tolerated pill.

Surviving

Many people are unaware that the research discoveries made by hematologists have had an enormous ripple effect throughout all of medicine. Advances in hematology have helped to treat patients with heart attacks, stroke and some types of cancers. For example, blood thinners can be highly effectively treatment for blood clots and strokes.

As a result, new forms of anti-clotting drugs have reduced death rates from heart attacks and strokes. In another example, stem cell transplantation can cure inherited metabolic disorders, and gene therapy holds the promise of effectively treating many hereditary diseases.

Getting involved

More knowledge, policy and advocacy are needed to ensure that strides continue to be made. Blood health goes way beyond the concept of disease and clinical care. It involves you.

Perhaps you or a loved one has been affected by a blood disorder and you would like to support new efforts that encourage research that will contribute to novel treatments for the disease. By becoming an advocate for hematology, you can help increase public awareness about blood disorders and support state and federal funding for research, which is critically needed to continue scientific advances in the field.