Molecular Genetics Thalassaemia Department

Bridging expertise – the ARISE initiative

The Molecular Genetics Thalassemia Department (MGTD) at the Cyprus Institute of Neurology & Genetics (CING) is a key participant in the African Research and Innovative Initiative for Sickle Cell Education (ARISE). ARISE is funded by the European Union and fosters sharing of best practices in newborn screening, diagnosis and treatment of sickle cell disease (SCD) and other major haemoglobinopathies among partner centres.


SCD, a rare inherited red blood cell disorder, is most prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa, but global population movements have contributed to its spread across the world. While individuals with SCD in countries with advanced health systems show long-term survival and good quality of life, the situation is markedly different in low-income countries, where fewer than 50% of children born with SCD reach the age of 10.


ARISE addresses these disparities by establishing an interdisciplinary staff exchange program across 23 partner institutions in 8 EU/non-EU countries, including among others Cyprus, Italy, UK, Nigeria, Kenya, and the USA, thus bringing together expertise and resources to advance SCD research and care.


MGTD researchers with years of experience in the field share their knowledge and expertise through a variety of training activities on molecular techniques for the diagnosis of SCD and other haemoglobinopathies. Additionally, as part of their training at MGTD, the secondees participate in various research activities including genetic epidemiology studies, data curation and analysis and development of patient registries. 


Thus far, MGTD has hosted five African researchers from Nigeria — Anslem Rimau Bako, Farida Ibrahim, Mary Foluke Achi, Musa Mohammed and Aliyu Dahiru Waziri, and one European researcher — Charlie Leboff —, and runs an online training course for researchers participating in the project remotely. Commenting on her experience Mary Foluke Achi said “My overall experience at the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics was engaging. Everyone was willing to share their knowledge and help me through the training. The experience was worthwhile. I appreciate everyone!”.



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