Beta Thalassemia: New Therapeutic Options Beyond Transfusion and Iron Chelation

Irene Motta, Rayan Bou-Fakhredin, Ali T. Taher, Maria Domenica Cappellini

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Hemoglobinopathies are among the most common monogenic diseases worldwide. Approximately 1–5% of the global population are carriers for a genetic thalassemia mutation. The thalassemias are characterized by autosomal recessive inherited defects in the production of hemoglobin. They are highly prevalent in the Mediterranean, Middle East, Indian subcontinent, and East and Southeast Asia. Due to recent migrations, however, the thalassemias are now becoming more common in Europe and North America, making this disease a global health concern. Currently available conventional therapies in thalassemia have many challenges and limitations. A better understanding of the pathophysiology of β-thalassemia in addition to key developments in optimizing transfusion programs and iron-chelation therapy has led to an increase in the life span of thalassemia patients and paved the way for new therapeutic strategies. These can be classified into three categories based on their efforts to address different features of the underlying pathophysiology of β-thalassemia: correction of the globin chain imbalance, addressing ineffective erythropoiesis, and improving iron overload. In this review, we provide an overview of the novel therapeutic approaches that are currently in development for β-thalassemia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1053-1063
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)

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