What is Thalassemia?
Like Sickle cell anaemia, thalassemia is as well a condition; that is being inherited from the parents, making an abnormal form of haemoglobin. The haemoglobin is an important protein, found in the red blood cells that carried oxygen supplied from the lung to the different important tissues of the body. The condition may lead to excessive destruction of red blood cells causing anaemia.
There exist two main forms of thalassemia, alpha and beta; depending upon, which of the globin chain of haemoglobin is genetically altered. The disease has been first confirmed by Dr. Thomas Cooley in 1925.
How prevalent is Thalassemia?
Thalassemia is a common genetic abnormality, affecting approximately 4.4 of every 10, 000 live births throughout the world. The disease can be equally inherited by both males as well as females, as it follows the autosomal pattern of inheritance. It has been estimated that particular 5% of the people, globally are observed to be carrying thalassemia traits of which approximately 2.3 % of the people are silent carriers.
It has as well been detected that people from the particularly ethnic group are more likely to be affected with the symptomatic population ranging from 5-30%. This can be estimated to be as follows:
- Up to 0-5% of the population in America has observed to be having thalassemia traits out of which 50-60% may be are only genetic carrier.
- 0-20% of the people from eastern Mediterranean has observed to be having thalassemia trait out of which upto 60% can be genetic carrier.
- Similarly in case of European population, almost 1-2% of the population is suspected to be carrying thalassemic traits, out of which 12% can be a genetic carrier.
Thus, both alpha as well as beta thalassemia, is found to be more common in tropical as well as subtropical regions of the world. Similarly, the southern region of the Italy and Greece are the most likely areas to be affected in Europe. From the Asian continents, Maldives is supposed to be the most prevalent area for carrying thalassemic traits.
Factors responsible for Thalassemia
The genetic abnormality expressed in the one or both the parental genes involved in the production of haemoglobin are the only factor responsible for thalassemia.
If any one of the parents is a carrier of the disease, the child may develop a form of disease that is known to be thalassemia minor. In this the child will not express any particular symptoms but can always be a carrier of thalassemic traits.
If both the parents are carrier of the disease, the child has more chances to develop a more severe and fatal form of thalassemia major.
Expression of symptoms will be dependent mainly on the type of thalassemia encountered by the child. As discussed, thalassemia minor will not particularly show any symptom. The person can sometime experience a mild form of anaemia due to abnormality.
In general, the symptoms of thalassemia major can be clearly evident within first two years of child’s development. The signs and symptoms may include: –
- Pale skin tone
- Frequent infections
- Poor appetite
- Yellowish of the skin, often leading to jaundice
- Enlarged organs
The type of thalassemia can be considered to be severe form of the disease often requiring blood transfusions.
The other variable of the condition of the thalassemia can as well be fatal resulting in the major bone issues, overgrowth of cheeks and foreheads, causing jaundice, an enlarged spleen and severe malnourishment.
The most extreme version of thalassemia can give rise to fatal condition Hydrops Fetalis. The individuals born with this condition are either still born or die shortly after being born.
Prognosis of the Thalassemia
Prognosis of thalassemia can generally be a simple blood test to be tested for anaemia and abnormal haemoglobin. Severe forms of thalassemia can be fatal causing early death at the age of 20-30 years. The only available treatment on the condition conventionally can be getting regular blood transfusion done to remove abnormal haemoglobin.
What goes wrong in the Thalassemia?
Oxygen is necessary even at the cellular level to maintain its functional ability. A protein known as the Haemoglobin in the red blood cell is mainly responsible for carrying oxygen to different vital organs of the body. Normal red blood cells are oval in shape, which allows them to be flexible enough to pass through large as well as small blood vessels to deliver oxygen.
Due to genetic modification, altered version of globin chains are being synthesized, giving rise to defective haemoglobin instead of haemoglobin. This in turn can alter the ability of haemoglobin to form iron and circulate oxygen in the body. The condition can give rise to damage of many red blood cells causing a very severe form of anaemia.
The increased frequency of the condition can cause severe organ damage such as brain, heart, lungs, liver, heart, kidney, etc.
How Stem Cells treatment can help!
Stem cells are the mother cells that are responsible for developing an entire human body from a tiny two celled embryo; due to their unlimited divisions and strong power to differentiate into all the cells of different lineage. This power of stem cells has been harnessed by the technology to isolate them outside the human body, concentrate in the clean environment and implant back.
Thus, stem cells treatment involves administration of concentrated cells in the targeted area to form colonies; a peculiar characteristic of stem cells, adapt the properties of resident stem cells and initiate some of the lost functions that have been compromised by the disease or injury.
Various studies have suggested that stem cells obtained from matched allogenic donor can be very effective for the condition, reversing it to be normal. The child has to undergo complete destruction of his/her own bone marrow and undergo infusion of bone marrow stem cells from allogenically matched donor.
The haematopoietic stem cells and some percentage of mesenchymal stem cells are found to be very effective in complete replacement of total bone marrow with the healthy cells, due to their regeneration power. It has as well been suggested that the population of mesenchymal stem cells will home in different damaged areas to give rise to different organ specific cells, which have been damaged to restore back their function. However, the earlier the treatment starts; the more effective the treatment can be.
Treatment of Thalassemia at GIOSTAR
We have mastered the technology for isolating maximum number of viable stem cells allogeneically with the matched donor to treat various patients with thalassemia. We are the licensed, private organization with the excellent, well equipped state of the art facility to isolate, process and enrich the viable number of stem cells, which can be re infused back into the patient’s body. Generally, these cells are administered through any one of the below mentioned methods depending upon our expert’s advice:
- Local Administration:-Through this mode, cell are infused directly at the targeted site of injury. Thus, in case of thalassemia in particular organ, cells can be directly infused at the targeted site after prescribed chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy.
- Intravenous Administration:- Through this mode, cells are infused through the veins along with the mannitol to expand blood volumes in the central nervous system, to ensure that the maximum number of cells are reaching to the targeted area.
Thus, once infused back in the body, these cells are known to revamp the cellular system in bone marrow as well as in damaged organs. Thus, the recovery period after the transplant, is found to be between 1 to 2 months; depending upon the child health, age and will power.
The collected data from various clinical trials has suggested that 85 out of 100 children have restructured body’s natural defence mechanism completely after stem cells treatment.
WHAT SETS US APART
- US Head quartered.
- Founder is leading stem cell scientist credited with setting up the stem cell research labs at top research institutions in US including Salk Research Institute, Sanford-Burnham Institute, UCI, UCSD.
- Medical Advisory Board comprising of luminaries from Harvard, * University of California, San Diego (UCSD), University of California Irvine (UCI), Imperial Collage, London.
- Endorsed by Honourable Prime Minister of India.
- State of the art and only private hospital in India inaugurated by Prime Minister.
- World’s largest stem cell hospital funded by government.