HYDERABAD: Scientists at city-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology(CCMB) will be using genetic mapping and pre-marital counseling for those affected with Sickle Cell Anaemia (SCA) to come up with genetics-based diagnosis and treatment methods. The programme is sanctioned by CSIR under the Mission Mode Project and executed by CCMB.The three-year programme costing Rs 55 crore will be headed by scientists at CCMB and five other CSIR labs. The programme is designed around a survey on genetic mapping of those with Sickle Cell Anaemia by Chhattisgarh government and Chhattisgarh Institute of Sickle Cell Anaemia.
The study genetically mapped and isolated children within the age group of 3 to 15 years and found 6,000 affected by the disease and 1,50,000 carriers of the genetic disorder. The scientists will focus on this group and provide them with genetic testing to confirm the status of the disease. Those diagnosed with the disease or those who have been confirmed carriers of the faulty gene will be advised against “marrying those who are carriers of SCA gene”.
“If a couple who are both carriers of SCA are having a child, pre-natal diagnosis will help us determine if the unborn child is susceptible to SCA,” said chief scientist Giriraj Chandak who will head the programme. “For those who are unmarried, we will warn them against marrying a carrier if they are a carrier themselves. The birth of an affected child can thus be prevented,” he added.Chandak and his team hope the data collected in the course of the programme will help them understand why existing treatment for SCA work differently on different persons. The scientist feels caste and inbreeding within families have helped keep the disease prevalent even today.