Haemophilia B: From Molecular Diagnosis to Gene Therapy

Giuseppe Castaldo, Paola Nardiello, Fabiana Bellitti, Rita Santamaria, Angiola Rocino, Antonio Coppola, Giovanni di Minno,  and Francesco Salvatore

Abstract

Thanks to its typical expression, haemophilia can be identified in writings from the second century AD. Haemophilia B, an X-linked recessive bleeding disorder due to factor IX (FIX) deficiency, has an incidence of about 1:30000 live male births. The factor 9 (F9) gene was mapped in 1984 on Xq27.1. Haemophilia is diagnosed from prothrombin time, activated partial thromboplastin time, and FIX levels. Carrier females are usually asymptomatic and must be identified only with molecular analysis. Linkage analysis of F9 polymorphisms is rapid and inexpensive but limited by non-informative families, recombinant events, and the high incidence of germline mutations; thus, various procedures have been used for the direct scan of F9 mutations. We set up a novel denaturing high performance liquid chromatographic procedure to scan the F9 gene. This rapid, reproducible procedure detected F9 mutations in 100% of a preliminary cohort of 18 haemophilia B patients. Parallel to the development of more efficient diagnostic tools, the life expectancy and reproductive fitness of haemophilic patients have greatly improved and will continue to improve thanks to the use of less immunogenic recombinant FIX. Hopefully, new approaches based on gene therapy now being evaluated in clinical trials will revolutionise haemophilia B treatment.

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Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine ( CCLM) publishes articles on novel teaching and training methods applicable to laboratory medicine. CCLM welcomes contributions on the progress in fundamental and applied research and cutting-edge clinical laboratory medicine. It is one of the leading journals in the field, with an impact factor of over three. CCLM is the official journal of nine national clinical societies and associated with EFLM.

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