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Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2013 Feb 1;3(2):a011775. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a011775.

The prevention of thalassemia.

Author information

1
Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche e Biotecnologie, Università degli Studi di Cagliari, Via Jenner snc 09121 Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy.

Abstract

The thalassemias are among the most common inherited diseases worldwide, affecting individuals originating from the Mediterranean area, Middle East, Transcaucasia, Central Asia, Indian subcontinent, and Southeast Asia. As the diseases require long-term care, prevention of the homozygous state constitutes a major armament in the management. This article discusses the major prevention programs that are set up in many countries in Europe, Asia, and Australia, often drawing from the experience in Sardinia. These comprehensive programs involve carrier detections, molecular diagnostics, genetic counseling, and prenatal diagnosis. Variability of clinical severity can be attributable to interactions with α-thalassemia and mutations that increase fetal productions. Special methods that are currently quite expensive and not widely applicable are preimplantation and preconception diagnosis. The recent successful studies of fetal DNA in maternal plasma may allow future prenatal diagnosis that is noninvasive for the fetus.

PMID:
23378598
PMCID:
PMC3552345
DOI:
10.1101/cshperspect.a011775
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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