FDA approves Zynteglo to treat beta-thalassemia
bluebird bio, Inc. announced the FDA has approved Zynteglo (betibeglogene autotemcel), also known as beti-cel, a one-time gene therapy custom-designed to treat the underlying genetic cause of beta-thalassemia in adult and pediatric patients who require regular red blood cell (RBC) transfusions
Beta-thalassemia is a rare, genetic blood disease caused by mutations in the beta-globin gene and characterized by significantly reduced or absent adult hemoglobin production. Patients with the most severe form, sometimes called transfusion-dependent beta-thalassemia or beta-thalassemia major, experience severe anemia and lifelong dependence on regular red blood cell transfusions, a lengthy process that patients typically undergo every 2-5 weeks. Despite advances in treatment and improved transfusion techniques, transfusions only temporarily address symptoms of anemia and people with beta-thalassemia who require regular transfusions have an increased risk for morbidity and mortality due to complications from treatment-related iron overload. Data from the Cooley’s Anemia Foundation indicate that the median age of death of patients with transfusion-dependent beta-thalassemia in the U.S. who died during the last decade was just 37 years. bluebird estimates that there are approximately 1,300-1,500 individuals with transfusion-dependent beta-thalassemia in the U.S.
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