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Lab, Field, & Clinic
March 1, 2006

Yuet Wai Kan, MD

JAMA. 2006;295(9):991. doi:10.1001/jama.295.9.991

Sickle cell disease and thalassemia, inherited disorders of hemoglobin, constitute the most common genetic diseases in the world, and aggressive lifelong treatments are required for managing the anemia and other painful complications that accompany them.

Yuet Wai Kan, MD, of the University of California, San Francisco, has led the way in the study and treatment of these diseases. In the mid-1970s, he discovered the genetic mutations in the α- and β-globin genes that cause α- and β-thalassemia, respectively. He also ushered in the era of genetic testing for diseases by discovering DNA analysis techniques for tracing the transmission of disease-causing genes in families.