Kolkata: Indian and Brazilian experts have devised a method to estimate iron build-up in thalassemia patients, which will aid in better management of the blood disorder.
The novel Magnetic Resonance Imaging-based technology has been developed by Brazilian physician and researcher Juliano Lara Fernandez and Kolkata-based doctors Manas Saha and Prosanto Chowdhury. It has been internally validated.
"This special method of organ-specific iron estimation for liver, heart, pancreas and pituitary glands has been developed in conjunction with Fernandez of the department of internal medicine, Campinas Hospital, Brazil, and Saha, clinical director, radiology, Peerless Hospital and me," Chowdhury, consultant, thalassemia and hemoglobinopathy, Peerless Hospital, Kolkata, told IANS.
Chowdhury said it was non-invasive, accurate and affordable (Rs.5,000 per measurement) and has been validated against the FDA approved Ferriscan (which costs Rs.30,000 per measurement), from Resonance Healthcare, Australia, for the first time in the country.
Through an equation developed by Fernandez and perfected by the Indian experts, the procedure provides a correct measure of iron content in organs, a step essential for prescribing medications to get rid of the excess chemical. Overload can lead to morbidity and mortality.
"Patients with thalassemia and hemoglobinopathy (a group of blood disorders) are mostly transfusion dependent. Due to that, there is a build-up of iron in the body. The iron overload related hepatic (liver), cardiac and endrocrinal complications.
"The medical management to do away with the excess iron is possible through medications. But the prescription depends on accurately estimating the excess iron overload," Chowdhury said.
The research findings were disclosed at a workshop here Saturday organised by the Durgapur Society for Prevention of Thalassemia and Aids in collaboration with the Kolkata-based hospital.
Chowdhury said the new method has several advantages over traditional ones like Serum Ferritin indicator and SQUID.
Direct estimation, although, possible is invasive and risky while Serum Ferritin indicator was useful but not accurate.
SQUID provided a semi-direct estimation but was extremely expensive. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) has been tried out to measure iron content of various organs such as liver, and heart and it proved to be fairly accurate, he said, adding the research has been accepted for presentation at the Global Iron Summit.