April 2012                                                                                              Volume 19
In This Issue
National Family Meeting
The Last Wave
Show Us Your Logo!
DBA Fact
Journal Club
National Family Meeting at
camp logo


The Diamond Blackfan Anemia Foundation, Inc. (DBAF) is proud to announce our eighth national family retreat. This retreat will take place during the week of  July 8-13, 2012 at Camp Sunshine, which is located at Lake Sebago, Maine. Air carriers fly into Portland, Maine and ground transportation is provided by Camp Sunshine to the campsite.


Final selection of families chosen to attend is determined by Camp Sunshine.  Completed applications and physical examination forms should be returned to Camp Sunshine as soon as possible, due to the limited availability of family accommodations.  Travel expenses are the families' responsibility.  


If you have any questions regarding Camp, please contact Dawn Baumgardner at 716.674.2818 or 


Additional information and applications are available at

Upcoming Events


DBA Family Fun Day 
May 19, 2012 
Buffalo, NY 
Scott & Becky Kozlowski

Marine Corps Half Marathon
May 20, 2012
Fredericksburg , VA
Tami Luddy
DBA Support Group 
June 13, 2012
New Hyde Park, NY
Ellen Muir
DBA Family Meeting 
July 8 - 13, 2012 
Camp Sunshine
Casco, ME 
Dawn Baumgardner 

Friends of DBAF Golf Outing
& Silent Auction  
September 15, 2012 
Cherokee Hills Golf Club
Valley City, OH
Jim & Carol Mancuso
Ongoing Fundraisers

Family Letter Writing Campaign                           
Pre-printed letters and envelopes have been created for you to send to your contacts! Call or email for more information.
Dawn Baumgardner

Wristbands Available 
Twila Edwards
Tribute Cards Available
(2 Styles)
In honor of...
In memory of...
Dawn Baumgardner 
 donation donation

5" x 5" Decals Available
Dawn Baumgardner
window sticker 

Cookbooks Available 

Betty Lightner
To order online, visit:
Cookbook order form
cookbook cover



Good Search/Good Shop
Raise money for DBAF 
just by searching the web and shopping online! 

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:: 716-674-2818
The Diamond Blackfan Anemia Foundation(DBAF) is committed to keeping you updated and connected to the entire DBA community. The DBA Foundation is YOUR Foundation!  We encourage you to share your ideas, photos, and stories for our website and upcoming newsletters.  Contact

The Last Wave 

(submitted by Sally Thompson Gately )   


Kevin Waving Goodbye

 I've been thinking about Kevin's attitude toward chelating.  What did he say?  "I'll do it tomorrow."  Then tomorrow would come and he would say the same thing.  On Desferal: "I'm too busy tonight," "I didn't have enough time," "How can you be with your girlfriend with a pump on?"  On Exjade: "I take the train to school and can't be away from a bathroom for that long if I do my exjade in the morning."  Until... it was too late.  


I wonder if he knew exactly what he was doing or if he just thought it would never happen to him.  I wonder if he knew he was dying, even that last time in the hospital, and just didn't care.  He never talked about that. I wonder if he really knew exactly HOW he would die from not chelating. 


The Desferal and Exjade inconvenience and side effects are the major deterrents to young adults chelating.  When our children are under our constant care, it is not so difficult to get them to chelate.  But what about when they fly the coop into the big bad world without us, their parents?  Try as I might, I cannot come up with an answer for this one.  All we can do is teach them right from wrong and let them go.   Education, I think, is imperative.   

We need to make sure our young people have their eyes wide open about everything relating to DBA, especially chelating and the consequences of not chelating.  Research into reducing the side effects of chelation drugs must be a priority. 

Most parents post pictures of their children happy and smiling.  Here is my post of Kevin.  This was taken at Long Island Jewish Hospital.  It was the last time he sat up in a chair.  Later that day, he would be intubated and would never speak again.  This is his last wave.

Show Us Your Logo!    


window sticker

We are making it easy to Show Us Your Logo and to help spread the word about Diamond Blackfan Anemia!  This 5" x 5" decal will look beautiful on any window, mirror, etc. and tells the world you want a cure for Diamond Blackfan Anemia.

Ask your friends and families to show their support! To get yours, make a minimum donation of $5 for each decal to the DBA Foundation by check (via mail) or credit card/PayPal. Visit our website's Donate Page for the DBAF's mailing address or to make an online donation (use the "purpose line" to indicate number of stickers requested).  Be sure to include your shipping address, and a request for the desired number of decals to be sent. Please note, $5 is the minimum donation per decal.  Feel free to donate more! Get yours while they last!  Many thanks to Michelle Holdren for making these stickers available! 


Here's the challenge: We would like to see how many places we can show off our logo! Snap a picture sporting our logo and send us your story. Draw it, print it out, wear it, wave it, tattoo it, carve it, stick it... be creative!  Take us to school, on vacation, to the hospital, on a plane, to the game, in your home... anywhere!  Show us your logo!  Send your photos and stories to  
DBA Fact #6 (reprinted) 

Ellen Muir
Our Facebook Page posts DBA facts written by DBA nurse, Ellen Muir, RN, MSN, CPON. We are pleased to share these facts with our patients and families. Thanks, Ellen!


Recommended Labs for Chronically Transfused Patients:  We have been working closely with an adult endocrinologist, Dr. Irwin Klein, at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, who has done a lot of research studying heart disease in relation to thyroid dysfunction. Being that DBA patients who are chronically transfused have thyroid issues due to iron overload, he has taken an interest in working with us to prevent thyroid disease as well as cardiac failure due to thyroid dysfunction. As we know, other endocrine organs are also affected - pancreas, gonads, pituitary, as well as linear height. Here is a list of recommended labs to monitor and prevent the devastating effects of iron overload in the thyroid, heart, and the effects of diabetes:

  • total T3
  • total T4
  •  TSH  
  • T3 uptake (instead of free T4)                                                                         
  • IGF-1(monitors acute fluctuations in insulin action and determines inadequate insulin treatment or poor control of dietary intake)
  • NT-proBNP (aids in diagnosis of left ventricular dysfunction in heart failure)
  • Antithyroid Abs (Antithyroglobulin and AntiThyroperoxidase)   
  • Fructosamine (useful in situations where the A1C cannot be reliably measured - as with transfused persons)
  • Vitamin D             

Any questions, please feel free to e-mail me or call 1-877-DBA-NURSe (322-6877).

DBAF's Monthly Journal Club

Steve Ellis
Steven R. Ellis, PhD
DBAF Research Director

 We can do better!


This emphatic statement has been a resounding theme when considering the current state of iron chelation therapy in transfusion dependent DBA. As reported in last month's newsletter, this area was a major point of focus during the 2012 DBA International Consensus Conference. The subject of iron chelation therapy also came up in two recent publications in Blood, which will form the basis of this month's Journal Club. The first of these papers by Kwiatkowski and colleagues is entitled "Chelation use and iron burden in North American and British thalassemia patients: a report from the Thalassemia Longitudinal Cohort." 1 This is a very important paper because it documents trends and outcomes in iron chelation therapy in over 300 thalassemia patients over the period from 2002 to 2011. While this study was carried out in thalassemia patients who may differ in some respects from patients with DBA in how they accumulate iron and respond to chelation therapy, this study is nevertheless, of great significance to the DBA field because of its size, duration, and general findings.


One of the critical findings in this study is the need for effective monitoring of iron overload. As mentioned last month, serum ferritin is no longer deemed an acceptable surrogate for measuring tissue iron content. Instead, data are provided that strongly support the use of R2 or R2* MRI (ferriscan) for liver iron content and T2* MRI for cardiac iron. Assessment of iron content in both organs is critical since data have shown that they tend to load iron at different rates, as well as differ in rates in which iron is unloaded in response to chelators. The article also supports the view that the expanded number of chelators available has had a positive impact in reducing tissue iron. One of the more telling tables in this article compares tissue iron in British patients relative to the US patients early in the study, and then after several years of follow up. One can't help but notice that liver and cardiac iron content were both lower in the British subjects compared to US subjects early in the study. This relates to the fact that the British embraced MRI imaging technology to monitor iron overload more quickly than here in the US. Another difference was that ferriprox was used much more frequently in the UK compared to the US during the early phases of the study. Fortunately, this gap between Europe and the US has closed up to the point that in the later follow ups any differences were no longer considered statistically significant, indicating improvements in iron management, particularly here in the US. Nevertheless, the authors point out that despite these improvements, approximately 25% of patients in the study still had liver and cardiac iron contents high enough to put them at risk for cardiac disease and death.    


So, an emphatic, Yes! We can do better.


This then brings us to our second paper. A manuscript by Neufeld and colleagues which reports on a phase 2 clinical trial of a new iron chelator, FBS07012. Phase 2 clinical trials assess drug effectiveness in a limited number of patients and are also used to address the safety and pharmacological properties of a drug. Larger studies and controlled comparisons with currently approved drugs are typically the focus of phase 3 trials. The results from this phase 2 trial look encouraging. At the higher concentrations of FBS0701 employed, a statistically significant drop in liver iron content was observed with few adverse effects.


One of the major problems with iron chelation therapy is compliance. And while orally available Exjade has simplified drug delivery considerably relative to Desferal, there are still lingering problems with Exjade that limit compliance. One of the more important observations made in the FBS0701 phase 2 trial was its favorable safety profile in relation to gastrointestinal and potential renal toxicity. The favorable toxicity profile means that there is wiggle room for increasing drug concentration to gain more effective iron chelation, while hopefully still being able to maintain a low risk for adverse effects. Clearly, much more work is necessary on FBS0701 before it can receive a cool brand name and reach the clinics, but I think this study shows that clinicians and pharmaceutical companies realize the need for new therapeutics to improve compliance and increase the overall effectiveness of iron chelation therapy.


So, yes, we can do better and many are working to make this desire a reality. But the word has to get out and filter down from major centers to smaller clinics for these improvements to reach all patients affected by iron loading.  


1.            Kwiatkowski JL, Kim HY, Thompson AA, et al. Chelation use and iron burden in North American and British thalassemia patients: a report from the Thalassemia Longitudinal Cohort. Blood. 2012;119(12):2746-2753. Prepublished on 2012/01/27 as DOI 10.1182/blood-2011-04-344507.

2.            Armand P, Sainvil MM, Kim HT, et al. Does iron overload really matter in stem cell transplantation? Am J Hematol. 2012. Prepublished on 2012/04/05 as DOI 10.1002/ajh.23188.