In another installment of his Beyond The Hype Zoom series, Black Enterprise Senior Vice President Alfred Edmond Jr. speaks with Dr. Ted Love, whose company is introducing a breakthrough therapy for sufferers of sickle cell anemia.
Love, the CEO of Global Blood Therapeutics (GBT) talked with Edmond about the disease which is caused by a mutation in red blood cells. One reason the sickle cell trait is prevalent among Black people is that it makes people more resistant to malaria, which is an issue in parts of Africa.
Symptoms include episodes of pain, swelling of the hands and feet, frequent infections, and even vision problems.
Love, who joined GBT in June 2014 as president and chief executive officer has a wealth of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Before joining GBT, Love worked at Onyx Pharmaceuticals.
In the discussion, Edmond and Love talk about his early childhood career, his pivot to business and GBT, and his desire to treat sickle cell patients.
“When I was in medical school, I saw sickle cell patients come into the hospital and you could tell that people didn’t care about these patients the way they cared about other patients and there was this rush to be suspicious that their pain wasn’t real, that they were seeking narcotics or doing something inappropriate,” Love said. “That was very painful to me as a Black person and it was also painful to me because I was a small unimportant part of a big machine, so I never forgot that.”
Love also admits there is racial bias in medicine and it’s part of the reason he ended up at GBT.
“I can tell you there’s racial bias in medicine and I’ve seen it play out, so I basically said I emotionally want to do this if the science is right, so that drove me to look at the science of what the company is doing and I said ‘oh this is brilliant science'” Love said. “And that is a way of helping sickle cell patients, keep them out of the hospital, keep them out of medical centers, keep them at home, keep their cognitive function normal which allows them to have the life of other individuals.”