Thalassemia Overview
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Thalassemia is a problem with red blood cells that is passed down from parents to children (genetic). It can cause anemia—low levels of red blood cells. Red blood cells contain a protein called hemoglobin that carries oxygen around your child’s body, dropping it off to cells that need it. The most severe form of this condition is called Cooley’s anemia, also known as thalassemia major.

Children and teens with thalassemia are treated at Seattle Children’s, a founding organization of Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA). Seattle Children’s has a long history of successfully caring for children and teens with thalassemia.

Expert Care for Your Child

Thalassemia in children and teens is not very common, so community doctors usually have limited knowledge of the disease. This is why in the United States almost all children with thalassemia receive treatment at a center, like Seattle Children’s, with special experience in children’s blood disorders.

Seattle Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center brings together experts from more than 20 subspecialties to provide diagnostic services and treatments, including the very latest options. Our team of pediatric hematologists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, Child Life specialists, social workers, and chaplains partner with you to provide expert, family-centered care and compassionate support. We help you understand your child's health and treatment options because you, your child, and your family are an important part of the care team.

When children need blood transfusions, we work closely with Puget Sound Blood Center, an internationally recognized institution, to make sure your child gets the best possible care and support.

Because Seattle Children’s doctors take part in national and international research studies, and often lead them, we can offer new treatment options that many other hospitals cannot give their patients.

Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Program

When children have severe thalassemia, doctors sometimes consider a bone marrow transplant. If your child’s condition requires a bone marrow transplant, you should know that the Fred Hutchinson Bone Marrow Transplant Program at SCCA is one of the world’s largest and most experienced centers for pediatric transplantation.

Doctors at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, another SCCA founding organization, pioneered the use of bone marrow transplants as a treatment for blood diseases over 40 years ago. We have now performed over 14,000 transplants, more than any other institution in the world. Nearly 20 percent of these have been done in children. Ours is one of only 13 bone marrow transplant centers whose patients achieved higher-than-expected survival rates, according to a recent study of 168 centers nationwide.

Learn More

Find out why families choose SCCA for pediatric bone marrow transplant.

Read more on the Seattle Children’s website about:

Make an Appointment

Contact us to schedule an appointment or ask questions.

  • To talk with a pediatric transplant doctor, call (800) 804-8824.
  • To make an appointment, call Seattle Children’s at (206) 987-2106.