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New developments on chelation have been discussed during the 20th International Conference on Chelation in Grand Rapids, MI, USA, which could affect the treatments of millions of patients worldwide. The complete treatment of transfusional iron overload in thalassaemia using the deferiprone (L1) and deferoxamine combination is a paradigm to be followed in the treatment of many other metal toxicity conditions. Encouraging results from clinical testing increased the prospects of the application of L1 as a pharmaceutical chelator antioxidant in renal, neurodegenerative and other conditions. The development of new chelators for the detoxification of heavy and radioactive metals is in the final stages of approval for clinical use. EDTA chelation for heavy metal detoxification has been used in millions of patients worldwide in the last 50 years and continues to attract many categories of patients because of low toxicity and therapeutic benefits. Major changes on chelation therapy policy have been introduced by the FDA in the USA in the last few years, including the approval of L1 in 2011, the release of reports with 2474 fatalities which include thalassaemia and sickle cell anaemia patients in the period 2007-2011 in the case of deferasirox and the reappraisal of EDTA chelation therapy by NIH for patients who have suffered myocardial infraction. Major controversies in the use of chelating drugs worldwide include the risk/benefit assessment of different chelation protocols for different conditions and the commercial conflicts between generic and patented drugs.


George J Kontoghiorghes. The proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Chelation held in the USA: advances on new and old chelation therapies. Toxicology mechanisms and methods. 2013 Jan;23(1):1-4

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PMID: 22900514

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