This World Thalassemia Day has some good news for Beta Thalassemia patients! Introduction of a new radiation protocol has increased the success rate of half matched bone marrow transplant to treat this condition significantly.
What is beta thalassemia?
The protein in your RBC or Red Blood cells carrying oxygen to various parts of your body is known as Adult Haemoglobin (HbA). It is formed out of heme and globin. The later is made up of 2 alpha chains and 2 beta chains. For a person diagnosed with beta Thalassemia, one of both of these beta globin chains are unavailable.
Beta Thalassemia can be categorised into 3 types which are – Thalassemia Major, Thalassemia Minor and Thalassemia Intermediate.
For people who have minor thalassemia, treatment isn’t generally required. This is because their haemoglobin count generally remains normal. For the occasional times it is not, they can be brought back to normal with a few iron supplements.
But for those with Beta Thalassemia intermediate, a blood transfusion may be required from time to time. Here the blood will be transmitted to the patients intravenously.
For Beta Thalassemia major, there would be blood transfusion all through the patients life along with folic acid and iron supplements to maintain the iron balance of the body. If it is severe, the patient might have to go through bone marrow or stem cell transplant. Now with the Introduction of radiation protocol, bone marrow that doesn’t completely match with the patients can be used for treatment too!