Online resources for the thalassaemias and other haemoglobinopathies are largely limited to websites of patient support groups and specialised databases. The migration of carriers and the severity, ubiquity and surprising genetic complexity of the thalassaemias, however, call for an integrated web site to pool the expertise of all scientific and health professionals involved. The ITHANET Portal represents an expanding resource for clinicians and researchers dealing with haemoglobinopathies, and a port of call for patients of haemoglobinopathies in search of professional advice.
The ITHANET Portal offers a range of services including continuous updates on the upcoming conferences, interesting recent publications, new and clinical trials. It also incorporates a database of organisations and networks concerned with haemoglobinopathies world-wide, and a wiki-based text interface to establish a growing, interactive education environment. The ITHANET Portal also houses one of the largest and most recent haemoglobinopathy mutation, frequency and genotype-phenotype databases, offering flexible search and display functionalities as a comprehensible and versatile reference for clinicians and researchers. The ITHANET Portal aims to become a comprehensive resource for all information relating to the haemoglobinopathies, and as an interactive community tool invites contributions to its content, including announcements, details of organizations and genotype-phenotype information.