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Iron Disorders and Nutritional Anemias

The mission of our research program is to foster and promote basic, translational, and clinical research collaborations in the area of iron and nutritional disorders. The Iron Disorders and Nutritional Anemias Program is dedicated to integrating laboratory and clinical research to increase our understanding of iron disorders and to identify the most effective treatment strategies for each unique group of patients.

Dr. Powers’ NIH-funded clinical research aims to overcome adherence problems in children with iron deficiency anemia (IDA). Through this work she has characterized barriers to successful treatment in young children with nutritional IDA. She then developed a novel web-based platform, IRONCHILD, to improve motivation to adhere to therapy in parents of affected young children, which is currently undergoing pilot-testing.

Many patients treated in the Iron Disorders and Nutritional Anemias Program participate in an IDA Cohort study, designed to assess the effects of IDA on important patient-centered outcomes such as quality of life, fatigue and pica, a condition in which persons with IDA crave non-food items (i.e. ice, dirt). The goal of this research is to better characterize how the condition affects patients in their daily lives, which will in turn allow our researchers to determine what therapies may be best suited to address and correct such symptoms.

The Iron Disorders and Nutritional Anemias Program is also one of the sites for a multi-site, multi-national study seeking to obtain FDA approval for the use of a new intravenous iron preparation in children with IDA who have not responded to treatment with oral iron (iron by mouth). Children who do not qualify for this clinical trial, but who may benefit from intravenous iron therapy, may discuss additional options with members of the Iron Program.

Finally, the Iron Disorders and Nutritional Anemias Program is also assessing outcomes of children affected by transfusional iron overload, a complication that results from the life-saving blood transfusions given during cancer and stem cell transplant therapy. The team seeks to determine which children need to be screened for this complication, as well as determine the best modalities to evaluate and finally, treat children by iron overload.