A Kolkata-based cancer research institute announced here on Friday the launch of a campaign that would entail blood testing and counselling of about 2.6 lakh school and college students over the next five years, with a view to spreading awareness about thalassemia among them as part of its attempts to eradicate the disease from the city by 2015 Titled “Zero Thalassemia Growth Rate in Kolkata by year 2015,” the project is supported by the Kolkata Police, the Rotary Club and the Medical Bank and was kicked off on Saturday — World Thalassemia Day.

Ashish Mukhopadhyay, medical director of the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Cancer Research Institute, says about 10 per cent of the city's population are thalassemia carriers and the number can multiply in geometric progression unless marriage between two carriers is prevented.