What is Haemochromatosis?

mi-iron organsHaemochromatosis is an inherited condition which is the result of too much iron being stored in the body. In Australia, about 1 in every 200 people have this condition. If untreated, over the years this build-up of iron can lead to liver disease, diabetes, and heart damage.

This severe disease almost never occurs unless there is high iron overload (serum ferritin above 1000ug/L) which is almost always treated by regular blood withdraws called venesection.

Mi-iron however aims to find the most effective treatment for people with moderate iron overload (serum ferritin between 300 - 1000ug/L) and measure improvement of less specific symptoms related to the disease such as fatigue, arthritis, mood and well-being.

The genetics of haemochromatosis

Haemochromatosis is a recessive gene disorder. That means for the condition to be passed on, both mother and father must have one copy of the faulty HFE gene. About one in seven people have one faulty HFE gene. They are referred to as a 'carrier' because they carry a gene fault which may cause their children to inherit the disorder. Carriers don't develop the condition themselves. 95% of cases of haemochromatosis are caused by a double dose of a HFE gene fault called C282Y.