Centenary’s Professor John Rasko AO, Head of our Gene and Stem Cell Therapy Program and Head of the Department of Cell and Molecular Therapies at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, in a world-first news break, announced that a cure has been found for a sub-set of what is considered one of the most common genetic diseases in the world – β-thalassemia.
Beta thalassemia (β-thalassemia) is a blood disorder that reduces the production of haemoglobin. Haemoglobin is the iron-containing protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to cells throughout the body. In people with β-thalassemia, low levels of haemoglobin lead to a lack of oxygen in many parts of the body.
It is reported that approximately 60,000 children are born every year with a serious form of the disease.
Professor Rasko is part of an international study involving 22 patients with Transfusion-Dependent β-Thalassemia of which the world-first results have been published today in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine.
We congratulate Professor Rasko, his team and the international collaboration on this contribution to global human health.
Listen to Professor Rasko interviewed this morning on Radio National talking about the outcomes of the study along with two Australian patients who were part of the study.
Read the full New England Journal of Medicine article.
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Professor Rasko spoke recently at an Australian Academy of Science symposium on the topic of science and the public good.