DO YOU HAVE SICKLE CELL DISEASE? Join Our Study and Help Researchers Learn More About Pain Management For This Condition!

Study Overview

Researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine are looking for teens and adults with Sickle Cell disease to take part in a study to learn more about whether acupuncture, which is a non-opioid alternative pain management approach, can help manage chronic and acute pain from this condition.
Acupuncture involves inserting very fine needles through the skin at specific points on the body to different depths.  This treatment may help relieve pain and it is used for a wide range of pain conditions.
Your participation will help researches to gain further knowledge about the effectiveness of acupuncture for pain management, which could lead to more treatment options for sickle cell disease patients in the future. 


Study Description

Who is Eligible
  • Must be 14-80 years of age
  • Must have a diagnosis of Sickle Cell disease
  • Experiencing chronic pain in the past 6 months or pain crisis in the past 12 months
  • Able to read and speak in English
  • Able to travel to Indianapolis for study visits
What is Involved
We will pre-screen your eligibility through an online survey or phone call.  Then you will complete either one remote or in-person (60-90 min) screening visit to determine your eligibility to participate.

If you are eligible and choose to participate, you will be randomly placed, liked the flip of a coin, into one of two groups:
1.) Traditional acupuncture (very fine acupuncture needles will be inserted into the skin
2.) Laser acupuncture without needles (a laser acupuncture device will be used and there will be no physical contact between the device and your skin)
  • Participation involves 14 visits (4 assessments and 10 treatment visits) in Indianapolis, IN
  • Each treatment visit is approx. 120 min. and visits will take place over a period of 6-7 weeks.
  • Study visits will include 10 sessions of acupuncture
  • Quantitative Sensory Testing, MRI, EEG and blood samples will be collected before and after treatments.
 ** Quantitative Sensory Testing (physical assessment to evaluate your sensory system and pain)
** EEG (electroencephalography is a tool using a wear-on cap to detect the electrical activity in the brain) 
 **MRI (magnetic resonance imaging is a technique using a scanner to take pictures of the inside of the brain)
  • You will receive acupuncture treatments at no cost to you
  • You will receive $100 per assessment visit and $100 for the remote follow-up visits (up to $500 total)
  • Parking is also provided for each visit
How To Participate

Additional Information


Study Title:  Integrative Medicine in Pain Management in Sickle Cell Disease: Assessing the Clinical Efficacy and Neurobiological Impact with Acupuncture

You can find out more information about the study Principal Investigator, Dr. Ying Wang, by visiting this link:

  • IRB Number: 10056 - SC
  • Research Study Identifier: TX11381
  • Principal Investigator: Ying Wang

Recruitment Status


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