A Thalassaemia cure score has been devised by a city-based doctor to predict the response of the patient to the novel therapy of Australian wheat grass with Vitamin E. Thalassaemia is any of a group of hereditary haemolytic diseases caused by faulty haemoglobin synthesis
“Thalassaemia cure score is a prognostic tool based on patient related simple information to predict the response to the novel therapy,” said Dr Vijay Ramanan, haematologist and in-charge of the bone marrow transplant programme at Ruby Hall Clinic.
Approximately 8 per cent of the population have the Thalassaemia trait and there are 13,000 live births with Thalassaemia per year.
Thalassaemia major is a preventable disease. Persons with thalassaemia major have severe anaemia and it can be life threatening if untreated.
While Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) is expected to be curative with risk ranging from 15 per cent to 50 percent, the cost of the procedure may vary from Rs 12 lakh to Rs 50 lakh depending on the donor.
He started prescribing a US FDA approved anti-cancer drug that contains hydroxyurea along with wheat grass tablets which, used in combination for Thalassaemia patients who didn’t have a donor. In Thalassaemia major patients this helps in raising the haemoglobin level and thereby avoiding blood transfusion. More than 1000 patients are undergoing the treatment and to understand the response, Dr Ramanan devised the cure score.
“The response from the first 200 patients was studied and helped in setting up a Thalassaemia Cure Score App. The response means the chances of getting blood transfusion is predicted by the score. The lower the score, the better, he explained. A score of one would indicate a response rate of at least 90 per cent. A score of 2 would indicate response rate of at least 60 per cent. A score of 3 would indicate a response rate of 30 per cent,” said Dr Ramanan.