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NHLBI, CDC launch surveillance and research program for inherited blood diseases
Date:2/18/2010

Medical researchers are developing a new surveillance system to determine the number of patients diagnosed with a family of inherited blood disorders known as hemoglobinopathies, including sickle cell disease, thalassemias, and hemoglobin E disease.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health is funding the four-year pilot project, which will involve the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and six state health departments, to create ways to learn more about the extent of hemoglobinopathies in the United States.

Data collected from the $27 million Registry and Surveillance System in Hemoglobinopathies (RuSH) project will help researchers determine the most effective plans for developing future hemoglobinopathy registries. Research findings based on data from disease registries may provide new ideas for drug therapies and can spur the development of tests that can determine severity of diseases over the lifespan.

To manage the surveillance efforts, the NHLBI has entered into an interagency agreement with the CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. As part of the project, the CDC has developed cooperative agreements to create surveillance programs with state health departments in California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

Hemoglobinopathies involve problems with hemoglobin, the vital blood component responsible for transporting oxygen throughout the body. Production of abnormal hemoglobin, which occurs in the family of sickle cell diseases and hemoglobin E, or production of too little hemoglobin, which occurs in the thalassemias, can cause organ damage and shorten lifespan. While all states now test newborns for some of these diseases, there is no system to track the diseases nationally. In addition, patients born before screening programs began or those who have immigrated to the United States are not tracked. T
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Contact: NHLBI Communications Office
nhlbi_news@nhlbi.nih.gov
301-496-4236
NIH/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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