CCMB to develop diagnostic kit for Sickle Cell Anaemia

The Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CSIR-CCMB) has undertaken a project to develop an affordable and accurate diagnostic kit to rapidly diagnose Sickle Cell Anaemia (SCA). The project has been sanctioned by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

India accounts for 50 per cent of the five lakh children born with Sickle Cell Anaemia (SCA) worldwide every year.

The Mission Mode Project, which Giriraj Chandak of CSIR-CCMB will lead in close association with Sickle Cell Institute of Chattisgarh, will also make attempts to discover and develop new lead molecules for management of SCA, to improve the quality of life of patients with better life expectancy.

''Since there aren't too many treatment strategies for SCA, genome editing and stem cell based approaches will be investigated,'' said Dr Chandak, who addressed a press conference in Hyderabad, along with the CCMB director Rakesh Kumar Mishra. The project will involve generation of human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of SCA patients and correction of the SCA mutation through gene editing.

Efforts will be made under the state-sponsored programme to confirm the genetic status of the people who have already been screened and then perform screening in the extended families to identify carriers.

The three-year programme costing Rs55 crore will be carried out by scientists at CCMB and five other CSIR labs. It is designed around a survey on genetic mapping of Sickle Cell Anaemia affected people by Chhattisgarh government and Chhattisgarh Institute of Sickle Cell Anaemia.

The study, which genetically mapped and isolated children within the age group of 3 to 15 years revealed that 6,000 persons were affected by the disease while also identifying 1,50,000 with the genetic disorder. The project will focus on this group and provide them with genetic testing to confirm the status of the disease.