Thalassemia Major clinical trials at UCSF
2 in progress, 1 open to new patients
open to eligible people ages 12 years and up
The improved long-term survival of thalassemia major (TM) patients has resulted in increased focus on the ability to preserve fertility. While the association of iron toxicity with vital organ dysfunction, heart and liver, has been extensively investigated, the correlation of reproductive capacity and extent of iron overload is not well understood. Despite remarkable progress in methodology for prediction of reproductive status and intervention for preserving fertility, implementation in thalassemia is lacking. The investigators hypothesize that iron toxicity to the anterior pituitary occurring in the process of transfusional iron loading is directly associated with a decline in gonadal function. The investigators expect pituitary MRI measurements of iron deposition as well as markers of oxidative damage to correlate with the functional studies of pituitary-gonadal axis performed in this study. This cross sectional study will examine the relation of pituitary iron deposition and pituitary volume; serum iron and oxidative stress measures, liver iron concentration (LIC), cardiac iron and chelation adequacy with pituitary and gonadal reproductive hormone levels (and spermatogenesis in adult male patients), in order to better define the association of iron burden and chelation patterns with fertility potential, in thalassemia patients with iron overload. The study will assess whether the current chelation treatment regimens, in particular during the pubertal developmental age, are adequate for preserving fertility and could lead to improved chelation routines for preventing the high prevalence of compromised fertility. In addition, by utilizing state-of-the-art markers for fertility status, findings from this study may improve current methods for screening for hypogonadism and reproductive potential and allow earlier intervention. The investigators propose to examine 26-30 patients, 12 years and older, with measures of fertility potential, and correlate them to their current iron burden parameters and to the cumulative iron effect as indicated by past iron overload patterns and chelation history.
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The investigators aims to evaluate the safety of in utero hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in fetuses with alpha-thalassemia major performed at the time of in utero transfusion of red blood cells.