Monday, 10 January 2022

The University of Nicosia (UNIC) Medical School and the Thalassaemia International Federation (TIF) have recently signed an agreement for the establishment of the ‘TIF Chair in Haematology/Red Blood Cell Diseases’ at the Medical School.

John Porter, Professor of Haematology and Consultant Haematologist at the University College London Hospitals (UCLH) and Head of the joint Red Cell Unit for UCLH and Whittington Hospitals, has been jointly selected as first holder of the Endowed Chair.  In accepting his appointment Professor Porter noted, ‘This is an excellent opportunity to develop teaching and research and increase the profile of haemoglobinopathies, both locally and internationally.  Student doctors worldwide need more exposure during their training to haemoglobin disorders and the combination of first-rate preclinical research at UNIC Medical School with an unusually large patient base in Cyprus will serve to further develop this field of medicine’.

The establishment of the Chair aims to provide expertise and consultancy towards the improvement of the healthcare of thalassaemia patients and provide benefit to patients of haematological conditions, train medical/healthcare staff, and teach medical students on the latest advances in relation to thalassaemia and other red blood cell diseases, and contribute to research programmes in the field.

The Executive Dean of the Medical School, Professor Andreas Charalambous commented, ‘Professor Porter is a recognised international leader in thalassaemia, sickle sell disease, other haemoglobin disorders and rare anaemias, and clinical research, and has contributed greatly to the development of novel treatments for the benefit of patients worldwide. He is an outstanding educator and our medical students stand to benefit from his expertise through teaching and involvement in research projects. Under Professor Porter and in collaboration with TIF, we aim to create a clinical research team in haematological/red blood cells diseases.  I wish to extend my sincere thanks to the TIF Board for selecting our School to establish the Endowed Chair’.

Dr Androulla Eleftheriou, Executive Director of TIF pointed out, ‘Professor Porter has been the principal UK investigator in numerous multicentre clinical trials, in particular on iron chelation, and more currently the principal UK investigator on ongoing trials with a new innovative drug for correcting anaemia and reducing blood transfusion dependency and gene therapy, aiming at the total cure of thalassaemia. In addition, Professor Porter is the lead of TIF’s educational programme including authorship of the Guidelines for the Management of the Transfusion Dependent Thalassaemia, 4th edition, which is distributed to health care professional in over 62 countries across the six WHO regions. To have such a renowned scientist leading the TIF chair in haematology in Cyprus is indeed an honour and a privilege’.

Professor Porter has published more than 350 peer-reviewed articles with over 10,000 citations and an H index of 52. He has also made numerous contributions to books, as well as clinical guidelines and other medical articles. He has served as scientific adviser to the British Society of Haematology, the UK Thalassaemia Society, the Thalassaemia International Federation, and to advisory and research grant review panels at the US National Institute for Health.

The President of TIF Mr Panos Englezos concluded, ‘Professor Porter brings to the established endowed chair at UNIC Medical School essential practical knowledge relevant to TIF’s aims and objectives.  His outstanding scholarship and record in haematological disorders, and his international standing will, undoubtedly, help to give prominence to this chair for the benefit of patients in Cyprus and internationally’.