Hemophilia Patients to be Screened for Gene Therapy

Hemophilia patients from the district are set to undergo blood test next Sunday to ascertain whether they are fit to undergo gene therapy, a newly-emerging treatment for the bleeding disorder. Doctors from Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMC) Vellore would be conducting the blood test for both hemophilia A and hemophilia B patients. A total of 430 people with various bleeding disorders are registered under the Hemophilia Society – Trichy Chapter, out of which more than 300 are those with either hemophilia A or B who have been asked to undergo the blood test. Hemophilia is a genetic disorder which causes a person to bleed excessively and spontaneously for an unusually longer time, and due to trivial injuries. The absence or deficiency of clotting factors in blood – factor VIII and factor IX – in a person causes hemophilia. While the lack of factor VIII causes hemophilia A, the absence of factor IX leads to hemophilia B.

“The blood test will be done predominantly to check the viral parameters of patients with hemophilia A and hemophilia B and determine whether gene therapy could be done to a particular patient. This drive is part of the World Federation of Hemophilia’s extensive program,” vice-president of Hemophilia Society – Trichy Chapter, Nicholas Paul said. The blood test has already been done in a few cities in Tamil Nadu including Chennai and Coimbatore. On Saturday, it would be done for hemophilia patients in Madurai. According to the experts, the early trial results of gene therapy, which is done abroad for hemophilia patients, have been show promising results and could potentially be a long-term solution. The new treatment is likely to be introduced in India within two years. Currently, the available treatment for hemophilia A and B is frequent intravenous infusion of proteins to the patients. – TOI

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