Twenty-six transplanted thalassemic patients out of 295 analyzed, showed the presence of persistent mixed chimerism, over a period of time varying between 2 and 11 years after BMT. Despite the presence of large numbers of residual host cells, these transplanted thalassemic patients no longer require red blood cell transfusions and have a functional graft, producing sufficient levels of hemoglobin A ranging from 8.3-14.7 g/dl. These ex-thalassemic patients with persistent mixed chimerism, although they did not achieve complete donor engraftment are no longer exposed to the risk of graft rejection. The mechanisms underlying this apparent state of tolerance or education in these patients are at the present time unknown. However, these observations may be useful for physicians involved in defining optimal strategies for clinical gene therapy, in utero hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and adoption of less toxic conditioning regimens in mini-transplantation.