McMaster professor seeks to stop the bleeding

Developing new ways to improve the treatment of patients with bleeding disorders is the priority for the new Bayer Chair for Clinical Epidemiology Research and Bleeding Disorders at McMaster University.

Dr. Alfonso Iorio has been named the inaugural holder of the new research position. He is a professor and researcher of the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact and the Department of Medicine at McMaster University. He is also a clinician specializing in bleeding disorders for Hamilton Health Sciences.

“I am very excited about being named the inaugural chair recipient because I love this research field,” said Iorio. “I have spent more than 20 years of my career applying the principles of clinical epidemiology to research in bleeding disorders, so having the opportunity to focus on it further is rewarding.”

Bleeding disorders are a group of diseases that share the inability to form a proper blood clot. Iorio said his focus as the research chair will be primarily on inherited blood disorders, such as hemophilia A, hemophilia B and von Willebrand disease.

“Inherited blood disorders have a significant impact over the entire lifetime of a patient and extend to their family,” said Iorio. “We need to be sure we are choosing treatment for our patients wisely, and that’s where clinical epidemiology research comes into play.”

“Essentially, it means observing the impact of different management strategies across the entire population of patients to learn how to continuously improve their effect.”

The Bayer Chair for Clinical Epidemiology Research and Bleeding Disorders is funded jointly by Bayer Inc. and McMaster’s Department of Medicine.

The new position is responsible for contributing to the advancement of evidence‐based care for bleeding disorders by generating, summarizing and disseminating research results of the highest quality. This includes optimizing current and emerging treatments for hemophilia.

The chair is also responsible for undertaking educational roles to foster evidence-based care for bleeding disorders.

“The main goal of the chair is to support clinically impactful research focusing on outcomes important to patients in the field of bleeding disorders,” Iorio said.

“What is beautiful about the chair is that it is open to explore any approach to the management of bleeding disorders that we feel is of value. For example, one of the upcoming innovations in the treatment of bleeding disorders is gene therapy, of which we are poised to become leaders in here at McMaster, leveraging on expertise already acquired at McMaster in the field of gene therapy for cancer.”

Iorio continued: “I see significant potential for training and becoming an excellent training site for clinical epidemiology research in bleeding disorders. There are only a couple of places in the world where you can learn to do this properly. I am strongly committed to leverage this chair to make McMaster the go-to place in the field.”

Iorio has degrees as a doctor of medicine and a doctor of philosophy from the University of Perugia in Italy. He has been a faculty member at McMaster University’s Faculty of Health Sciences since 2010.

“Having this chair based at McMaster University under the expertise and leadership of Dr. Iorio will greatly enhance research on bleeding disorders,” said Paul O’Byrne, Dean and Vice-President of McMaster’s Faculty of Health Sciences.

“Improving health outcomes is at the heart of what we do here in the Faculty, and we believe Dr. Iorio is superbly qualified to lead his team to foster better health and quality of life for patients and their families,” he added.

“Bayer is honoured to support the Bayer Chair for Clinical Epidemiology Research and Bleeding Disorders,” said Alok Kanti, president and CEO, Bayer Inc. Canada. “We are also dedicated to improving the quality of life for patients and increasing the body of scientific evidence in the field of bleeding disorders, which has been one of Dr. Iorio’s passions, and a strength at McMaster University.”

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