Vision

Our vision is to accelerate the development of treatments aimed at a genetic-based cure for sickle cell disease.

Mission

The Cure Sickle Cell Initiative was created by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to:

  • Use emerging safe and promising genetic therapies to improve the lives of individuals with sickle cell disease.
  • Actively engage the sickle cell disease community of patients, family members, caregivers and advocates to work together on a path to the cure.
  • Encourage collaboration among researchers, industry, non-profit organizations, and policy-making agencies who will play a role in curing the disease.

Our Leadership

Dr. Gary H. Gibbons
Dr. Gary H. Gibbons
DIRECTOR, NATIONAL HEART, LUNG, AND BLOOD INSTITUTE

Gary H. Gibbons, M.D., is Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where he oversees the third largest institute at the NIH, with an annual budget of more than $3 billion and a staff of 917 federal employees.

The NHLBI provides global leadership for research, training, and education programs to promote the prevention and treatment of heart, lung, and blood diseases and enhance the health of all individuals so that they can live longer and more fulfilling lives.

Prior to being named director of the NHLBI, Dr. Gibbons served as a member of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Advisory Council (NHLBAC) from 2009-2012. He was also a member of the NHLBI Board of Extramural Experts (BEE), a working group of the NHLBAC.

Before joining the NHLBI, Dr. Gibbons served as the founding director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute, chairperson of the Department of Physiology, and professor of physiology and medicine at the Morehouse School of Medicine, in Atlanta.

Under his leadership of the Cardiovascular Research Institute, Dr. Gibbons directed NIH-funded research in the fields of vascular biology, genomic medicine, and the pathogenesis of vascular diseases. During his tenure, the Cardiovascular Research Institute emerged as a center of excellence, leading the way in discoveries related to the cardiovascular health of minority populations. Dr. Gibbons received several patents for innovations derived from his research in the fields of vascular biology and the pathogenesis of vascular diseases.

Dr. Gibbons earned his undergraduate degree from Princeton University in Princeton, N.J., and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Medical School in Boston. He completed his residency and cardiology fellowship at the Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Prior to joining the Morehouse School of Medicine in 1999, Dr. Gibbons was a member of the faculty at Stanford University in Stanford, Calif., from 1990-1996, and at Harvard Medical School from 1996-1999.

Throughout his career, Dr. Gibbons has received numerous honors, including election to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Sciences; selection as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Minority Faculty Development Awardee; selection as a Pew Foundation Biomedical Scholar; and recognition as an Established Investigator of the American Heart Association (AHA).

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Dr. Edward J. Benz, Jr.
Dr. Edward J. Benz, Jr.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CURE SICKLE CELL INITIATIVE

Edward J. Benz, Jr., M.D., President and CEO Emeritus at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, began his faculty career at Yale University in 1979, rising to the rank of Professor of Medicine and Human Genetics in 1987. He served as Chief of the Hematology Section and Vice Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine from 1987-1993.

Dr. Benz is an internationally recognized hematologist who is an active National Institutes of Health-funded Investigator. He is an expert in inherited anemias. His laboratory studies focus on the molecular regulation and functions of membrane cytoskeletal proteins that were originally discovered in the red blood cell. He has authored more than 300 peer reviewed articles, reviews, chapters, and abstracts. He is Co-editor of “Hematology: Principles and Practice,” which received the First Place Award for Textbooks from the British Medical Journal and of the “Oxford Textbook of Medicine,” for which he and his colleagues received the Royal Society of Authors Textbook Award. He was an Associate Editor of the New England Journal of Medicine from 2002 – 2016.

Dr. Benz’s accomplishments have been recognized by a number of distinctions, including being appointed as a Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, membership in the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Society of Clinical Investigation, and the Association of American Physicians. He is a past President of the American Society of Hematology, the American Society of Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Cancer Institutes, the American Clinical and Climatological Association, and the Friends of the National Institute of Nursing. In recognition of his efforts to achieve the ideal working environment, Dana Farber created the Edward J Benz Jr People and Culture Award and its Office of Faculty development re-named its award for advancement of women faculty the Edward J Benz Jr Award. In 2016 he was received the Innovator in Health Care Award from the Network for Excellence in heath Innovations.

Dr. Benz received his training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the National Institutes of Health, Boston Children’s Hospital, Yale, Princeton, and Harvard Medical School, where he received the Soma Weiss and Leon Resnick Awards for student research. He is board certified in internal medicine and hematology.

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Dr. Leslie Silberstein
Dr. Leslie Silberstein
SCIENTIFIC DIRECTOR, CURE SICKLE CELL INITIATIVE

Leslie Silberstein, M.D., received his training from the University of Leiden, the Netherlands, and had post-graduate training in Hematology/Oncology and Transfusion Medicine at Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston, MA. He then joined the staff at The University of Pennsylvania, where he worked from 1983-2000. During this time Dr. Silberstein established an academic transfusion medicine division with the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. He also served as Director of the Blood Bank and Transfusion Medicine Section, and Associate Director, Bone Marrow Transplant Program.

Dr. Silberstein was then recruited to Harvard, where he is a Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School and Founding Director of the Joint Program in Transfusion Medicine at Children's Hospital Boston, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The Joint Program has three interrelated components: research, clinical and educational.

In 2005, Dr. Silberstein founded the Center for Human Cell Therapy (CHCT) at the Immune Disease Institute/Programs in Cellular and Molecular Medicine at Children's Hospital Boston (PICMM). The CHCT was established to provide an infrastructure to rapidly translate novel cell therapy protocols from the laboratory to the clinic. Anchored by its Translational Cell Therapy Laboratory and its Regulatory Core, the Center was designed to provide cell therapy resources for the Harvard community and its affiliated hospitals, from the technical level to the submission of Clinical Protocols and Investigational New Drug applications. CHCT was supported by a PACT grant from the NIH, which ended in 2015.

Dr. Silberstein has maintained an experimental research program focused on human and murine B cell development and more recently on defining the bone marrow micro environment and its response and function in response to inflammation. He has been continually funded by the NIH grants (RO1, SCOR, PO1 and U01).

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