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RCSI and Bayer enter research collaboration to improve haemophilia treatment

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RCSI and Bayer have today announced a research collaboration that aims to improve treatments for people with severe haemophilia. The project will explore new treatments that can be tailored to the severity of each individual’s condition in order to safely and effectively promote blood clotting in people with haemophilia.

Haemophilia is an inherited bleeding disorder caused by the lack of a key blood clotting protein, known as factor VIII (FVIII). This results in prolonged bleeding that is difficult to stop unless the condition is recognised and treated. Haemophilia predominantly affects men, with approximately 1 in 4000 males in Ireland affected.

The research study is led by Dr Roger Preston, Lecturer in Vascular Biology at the Irish Centre for Vascular Biology and Department of Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics, RCSI and is funded by a Special Project Award of €200,000 from Bayer. The award was made under the Bayer Haemophilia Awards Program, a prestigious international award programme that supports basic and clinical research in haemophilia. The programme seeks to support the development of the next generation of care and treatment options for people with haemophilia worldwide.

Individuals with severe haemophilia A are at an increased risk of bleeding as they possess factor VIII levels of <1% of that observed in individuals without haemophilia. This is normally treated by regular administration of ‘replacement’ factor VIII.

Dr Roger Preston said: “The aim of our study is to engineer new therapeutics with clotting properties that can be ‘tuned’ to match the needs of each person being treated. We hope to develop treatments that can promote blood clotting with increased precision in order to improve the quality of life for people with haemophilia and other individuals at increased risk of bleeding”.

RCSI CEO, Professor Cathal Kelly said: “RCSI is delighted to announce this collaboration between Dr Preston and Bayer. This partnership exemplifies how collaboration between academia and industry can help improve the health of people with haemophilia through the high quality, impactful scientific research taking place at the Irish Centre for Vascular Biology here at RCSI.”

“Since its establishment 15 years ago, the ultimate goal of Bayer Haemophilia Awards Program (BHAP) has been to support research that has the potential to have a significant impact on our understanding of haemophilia and bleeding disorders,” said Dr Tristan Cooper, Bayer Ltd. Medical Director. “BHAP continues to be a tangible reflection of Bayer’s ongoing commitment to research and advancing scientific knowledge that improves patient care. We are proud to recognise and award Dr Preston for his expertise and commitment in his field.”

Dr Preston was previously awarded an Early Career Investigator Award from Bayer in 2014 and this new project will build on his initial research in this field.

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