The academic lead at the joint red cell unit is Professor Porter, who holds a joint appointment at UCL. Other consultants in the department are investigators in many of the ongoing studies.
The treatment of thalassaemia and sickle cell disorders are the main clinical and research fields, with particular reference to the treatment, and monitoring of iron overload in these conditions.
Diagnosis and treatment of rare anaemias and disorders of iron metabolism are an additional clinical research focus. Research has been supported by Medical Research Council (MRC), the Welcome Foundation and National Institutes of Health (NIH, USA), the Cooley’s Anaemia Foundation, and Novartis Pharma.
Laboratory research focuses on the mechanisms of iron chelation, the speciation and uptake of non-transferrin-bound iron (NTBI) species and their relevance to iron mediated toxicity, the molecular basis of iron homeostasis in health and disease, and the actions and toxicities of mixed-ligand chelation therapy. Ongoing clinical studies aim to clarify the importance of NTBIs in the monitoring and design of chelation therapy, the reversal of cardiac dysfunction with chelation regimens, the role of red cell microvesiculation in the prothrombotic state, and the treatment of bone disease in thalassaemia.
Professor Porter is also the principal UK investigator in the ongoing multicentre randomized controlled trials of the orally active iron chelator deferasirox. Dr Trompeter is jointly appointed by the National Blood Service (NHSBT) to develop an evidence base for transfusion in haemoglobinopathies. Dr Eleftheriou runs the weekly clinical trial clinics as co-investigator and is jointly appointed by the National Blood Service (NHSBT) to develop an evidence base for transfusion in haemoglobinopathies.