The Chemistry of Cooley's Anemia
Division of Natural and Mathematical Sciences
Department of Chemistry
St. Cloud State University
Young parents, Max and Andrea Forest, learn that their child is suffering from the genetic disorder, thalassemia. Treatment requires a lifetime commitment to whole blood transfusion and chelation therapy, both of which must be administered on a daily to weekly basis. Students read the case, answer a series of questions, and then decide how they would treat the child if they were the parents. The case was developed to introduce students to the role of metal ions and coordination chemistry in biological systems. It would be appropriate for use in courses in biochemistry, molecular biology, bioinorganic chemistry, and bioethics, among others.
- Understand and discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatment of the genetic disorder thalassemia.
- Understand and discuss the role of iron in the body.
- Understand and discuss the use of chelating agents in the treatment of iron overload.
KeywordsCooley's anemia; thalassemia; genetic disorder; genetic disease; hemoglobin; iron transport and storage in the body; iron overload; chelation therapy; deferoxamine; Desferal; metal ions; coordination chemistry; bioethics
Educational LevelUndergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division
Type / MethodsDilemma/Decision
Subject HeadingsBiochemistry | Inorganic Chemistry | Molecular Biology |
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