β-thalassemia major is a rare blood condition that necessitates a lifetime of blood transfusions. Despite advancements in treatments, the perfect cure has yet to be found.
Bluebird Bio, Inc. is trying to change that.
A couple of weeks ago it released interim data from a phase 3 clinical trial they’re conducting for a LentiGlobin drug. The trial is multicenter and international in order to examine a wide array of patients. There are 15 adult and adolescent individuals enrolled in addition to 8 children. The premise is to utilize gene therapy to eliminate the need for transfusions, and the recent progress is promising.
The participants of the trial are all living with β-thalassemia major or non-β0/β0 genotypes and are transfusion dependent.
The first results from the individual tested gives hope to the entire research community. One month after the first treatment with the LentiGlobin product, the patient stopped needing transfusions. Six months later, the patient’s hemoglobin levels were normal. If the rest of the trial participants show the same results, this could be life changing news for the β-thalassemia community.
It would mean a singular, one-time treatment would allow patients to stop needing transfusions. Transfusions are a time consuming, painful, and frustrating process, and eliminating them could significantly improve individual’s quality of life.
Gene therapy continues to be a promising possibility for β-thalassemia major and other rare conditions. As research continues, hope is rising for the potential impact it could have for the rare community.
The goal is always a cure. But the most important thing is improving quality of life for rare disease patients. With the former, we know the latter will follow. And maybe, just maybe, gene therapy is the answer.
You can read more about this phase 3 trial for β-thalassemia major by clicking here, to see the full article on the Street Insider.