Weatherall Group: Studies of thalassaemia in Sri Lanka
The Weatherall group continue to focus on the many aspects of haemoglobin E beta thalassaemia, the commonest form of severe thalassaemia throughout Asia.
In collaboration with colleagues from Toronto, California, Oxford, Liverpool, London and several thalassaemia centres across Sri Lanka, Professor Weatherall and his group undertake the largest and longest natural history study of patients with haemoglobin E beta thalassemia worldwide.
The current programme of research focuses on two main areas:
- Identify the genetic and environmental factors that are responsible for the remarkable clinical variability of the disease.
- Explore the mechanisms of oxidative damage to the red blood cells in haemoglobin E beta thalassaemia, with the objective of testing whether anti-oxidant interventions may reduce adverse common clinical outcomes.
The group also seeks to improve current population screening methods for haemoglobinopathy traits by developing and evaluating accurate, feasible and low-cost tests that reliably distinguish traits from iron deficiency.