GÉANT, EUMEDCONNECT and ITHANET – revolutionising Thalassaemia treatment across Europe and the Mediterranean 

Saving lives by creating a central hub for research and treatment of the fatal, inherited blood disorder

Thalassaemia is an inherited blood disorder, and with related conditions affects 300,000 newborn infants worldwide. Particularly common in populations originating from the Mediterranean it is usually fatal within the first decade of life unless treated effectively. While there has been considerable success in preventative programmes in some European countries, many growing states do not have the resources to effectively treat the disease.

ITHANET, the Electronic Infrastructure for Thalassaemia Research Network, aims to bridge this divide by providing a central information and communications environment for researchers, clinicians, patients and the public. Through powerful e-infrastructures ITHANET enables closer collaboration between those involved in combating thalassaemia, giving them the ability to carry out joint research, pool resources, share best practice and use video conferencing to provide second opinions. It currently brings together researchers in 65 institutions in 19 countries .

Revolutionising treatment of Thalassaemia
ITHANET is underpinned by the power of the GÉANT and EUMEDCONNECT research networks. These provide high capacity links that enable the fast transmission of information between all those involved in thalassaemia treatment and research, allowing the use of advanced techniques such as high quality video conferencing, grid computing for processing research data around new treatments and real time access to medical databases. Together, ITHANET and high speed research networks are revolutionising the study and treatment of thalassaemia and consequently saving lives across the Mediterranean. 

The Challenge
Globally, thalassaemia affects 300,000 newborn infants every year and without effective treatment is usually fatal within the first decade of life. Preventative programmes require resources beyond poorer countries leading to an imbalance in treatments that costs lives.

The Solution
ITHANET provides a central hub for researchers, clinicians, patients and the public across Europe and the Mediterranean, linking them through the GÉANT and EUMEDCONNECT research networks so that they can exchange information, provide second opinions and develop effective treatments.

Key Benefits
ITHANET is enabling collaboration between researchers in 19 countries and is revolutionising thalassaemia treatment across the Mediterranean basin. It is improving communication, enabling telemedicine through second opinions provided by video conferencing, giving universal access to research databases and underpinning the sharing of best practice and new innovations. 

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Partners in the ITHANET project: