Blood transfusions and Desferal cannot cure Thalassaemia, so doctors are constantly looking for better treatments.
The present operation of transplants is to transplant stem cells from bone marrow, umbilical cord blood, or blood given by patients’ brothers or sisters. If all goes well, the patient’s new bone marrow is able to produce normal blood, thus Thalassaemia is cured. Although there are potential dangers that patients may suffer, such as a high level of distress, there are quite a lot of successful cases in Hong Kong that continue to serve as driving forces for other patients to get cured.
However, donators must not be Thalassaemia patients and their tissue must match completely with the patient. Due to the slim chances of finding a complete, unaffected match, only a quarter of victims can receive this treatment.
All the above measures are likely to improve traditional treatments. But due to the limitation of efficiency and side-effects of new methods, as well as technology, these treatments are still not as popular.