Children born with the inherited blood disorder known as Cooley's anemia endure a lifetime of blood transfusions. Their bedtime rituals include hooking up to a pump to supply overnight infusions of medicine. But researchers are working to change that through advances in understanding the disorder, improving existing treatments, and finding ways to repair the defective genes that cause it.
The latest developments in these avenues of research were the subject of the Eighth Cooley's Anemia Symposium, held March 17-19, 2005, in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The conference, organized by the New York Academy of Sciences in collaboration with the Cooley's Anemia Foundation, brought together leading researchers to discuss current findings and set the agenda for future research.
Use the tabs above to find a meeting report and multimedia from this conference.
Cooley's Anemia Foundation
The foundation's mission is to advance the treatment and cure for this fatal blood disease, enhance the quality of life of patients, and educate the medical profession, trait carriers and the public about Cooley's anemia and other forms of thalassemia.
Northern California Comprehensive Thalassemia Center
Located at Children's Hospital Oakland, the center was established to deliver care to thalassemia patients in the region and provide education, genetic counseling, and psychosocial care to affected families and those at risk for carrying the disease. The center is at the forefront of research on improving the quality of life for thalassemia patients.
The Thalassemia Foundation of Canada
Originally formed as a parent support group, the Thalassemia Foundation of Canada provides education, gives medical grants for research, and helps patients with unmet medical needs.
Impact Children Foundation
The goal of the Impact Children Foundation (ICF) is to create awareness of thalassemia in high-risk communities and advance medical research dedicated towards finding an effective cure and safe treatment of this illness.
Berloni Foundation for the Control of Thalassemia
Located in Pesaro, Italy, the foundation provides support for research on bone marrow transplantation for curing beta thalassemia.
Thalassemia International Federation
This organization supports national thalassemia associations in their efforts to lobby for research and improved treatments, as well as to prevent affected births through education, genetic screening, and counseling.
Centers of Excellence for Thalassemia Research
Each of these hospitals has a research and treatment program devoted to thalassemia:
Children's Hospital Boston
Children's Hospital Oakland
Children's Hospital Of Philadelphia
The Hospital for Sick Children (Toronto)
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
An agency of the National Institutes of Health, the NHLBI provides leadership and research funding for diseases of the heart, blood vessels, lung, and blood.
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Elliott Vichinsky, MD
Elliot Vichinsky is director of the Department of Hematology/Oncology at Children's Hospital and Research Center at Oakland. His research on thalassemia includes the study of iron metabolism, transfusion medicine, and fetal hemoglobin regulation. To better understand thalassemia-related iron toxicity, Dr. Vichinsky is exploring the role of inflammation on iron deposition and organ damage. He is conducting a comparison of iron toxicity in thalassemia and sickle cell anemia, and is evaluating new technologies to detect early iron-induced organ injury. Dr. Vichinsky is also involved in a collaborative study of thalassemia involving centers in Oakland, London, Toronto, and Sri Lanka. He is a principal investigator or co-investigator on several other thalassemia-related trials involving patients.
Prior to becoming director of the Department of Hematology/Oncology in 1995, Dr. Vichinsky served in several capacities as a researcher and clinician at the Children's Hospital and Research Center at Oakland beginning in 1981. He received his B.S. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and his M.D. from State University of New York Downstate in Brooklyn.
Jayne Restivo has served the Cooley's Anemia Foundation as National Executive Director since 2000. In that capacity, she has overseen broad changes in the administration of the Foundation and in the implementation of the Foundation's goals. Ms Restivo's responsibilities include synergizing the efforts of the National CAF office and the numerous CAF chapters throughout the country. She has been instrumental in the establishment of both the Thalassemia Clinical Research Network and the CDC's Thalassemia Prevention Education and Outreach initiative, and in restoration of funding for thalassemia-based programs for the Maternal and Child Health Bureau.
Ms. Restivo formerly served as Vice President of Development for one of the oldest and largest foster care agencies in New York. Prior to this, she served as Executive Director/Vice President of Youth Programs for the American Heart Association, where she directed fundraising activities, educational programs and research and development projects. Ms. Restivo received a Kennedy fellowship to Fordham University, where she graduated with a B.S., and earned her M.S. from the College of New Rochelle.
Sir David Weatherall, MD, FRS
Athanasios Aessopos MD, PhD
Daniel Armstrong, PhD
George F. Atweh, MD
Arthur Bank, MD
Caterina Borgna-Pignatti, MD
University of Ferrara
Department of Pediatrics
Gary M. Brittenham, MD
Columbia University Medical Center
Department of Pediatrics
Maria Domenica Cappellini
David H.K. Chui, MD
Alan Cohen, MD
Laurice Compagno, MA, CCLS
Roland Fischer, PhD
Suthat Fucharoen, MD
Renzo Galanello, MD
Javid Gaziev, MD
Patricia J. Giardina, MD
Mark T. Gladwin, MD
Robert W. Grady, PhD
Frank Grosveld, PhD
Paul Harmatz, MD
Chaim Hershko, MD
Robert C. Hider, PhD
Douglas R. Higgs, MD
Antonis Kattamis, MD
Anver Kouliev, MD, PhD
Reproductive Genetics Institute
Frans A. Kuypers, PhD
Philippe Leboulch, MD
Giorgio La Nasa, MD
Fred Lorey, PhD
Naomi L.C. Luban, MD
Punam Malik, MD
David I.K. Martin, MD
Marie Martin, RN
David G. Nathan, MD
Ellis Neufeld, MD, PhD
Arthur Nienhuis, MD
Gargi Pahuja, MPH, JD
Thalassemia Action Group
Dudley Pennell, FRCP, MD
Susan P. Perrine, MD
Charles M. Peterson, MD
Antonio Piga, MD
Sergio Piomelli, MD
John B. Porter, MD
Vinod K. Prasad, MD, MRCP
Eliezer Rachmilewitz, MD
Griffin P. Rodgers, MD
Michel Sadelain, MD, PhD
Tim St. Pierre, PhD
Rashid Shaikh, PhD
Sylvia Titi Singer, MD
Cooley's Anemia Foundation