Consultant nets top haematology research award
A haematologist has just been recognised with a leading award for her research activities.
Dr Zara Sayar, who recently took up a consultant position at Whittington Hospital, won the NIHR and British Society for Haematology Researcher of the Year Award, for promoting non-malignant haematology studies nationally.
She won the award for work carried out at University College London Hospital (UCLH) and King’s College Hospital.
Dr Sayar has been involved in a number of research studies and also helped registrars who have not taken time out of training for research to become involved in certain aspects of trial design and data collection for national audits through HaemSTAR, a UK-wide network of trainee haematologists working to promote non-malignant haematology research.
Dr Sayar was the lead for the Follow-Up in Rivaroxaban Patients in Setting of Thromboembolism (FIRST) and the Myeloproliferative Neoplasm and Splanchnic Vein Thrombosis (MASCOT) registries as part of her role through HaemSTAR. For FIRST, she assisted with the organisation of national meetings and applications for contingency funding. As part of the MASCOT registry, she was involved in preparing documents for the research and ethics committee, establishing the study locally, testing the case report forms and identifying and inputting patients.
She has also carried out an NIHR-funded feasibility study called Thromboprophylaxis in Multiple Myeloma (TiMM) trial at King’s College Hospital researching the use of apixaban, a blood thinner, as thromboprophylaxis in myeloma.
Following the completion of her research, she was able to translate this into a real change in clinical practice - in November 2019, UCLH changed their thromboprophylaxis guidelines in myeloma patients to include the use of apixaban.
Dr Sayar said it was “wonderful” to win the award and added: “It does feel great have recognition for the work I have done, particularly as over the last two years this has taken place in my evenings and weekends and I know so many people are doing fantastic research.
“Although this is been awarded to me as an individual, I am very acutely aware that I would not have achieved what I have without the support and encouragement of the haematology departments at King’s College Hospital and University College London Hospital.”
Dr Sayar plans to develop her research activities in her new role at Whittington. She said: “Clinical research will remain a firm interest of mine following on the experiences I’ve had so far. In my new role at the Whittington Hospital I am hoping to act as a Principal Investigator for a number of studies that we have already expressed an interest in, as well as continuing my work on the Rivaroxaban for Stroke patients with Antiphospholipid Syndrome (RISAPS) trial at UCLH.
"I would also like to continue developing my interest in patients with POEMS [Polyneuropathy, Organomegaly (enlarged organs), Endocrinopathy, monoclonal gammopathy and Skin Changes], and how best we can prevent and treat venous and/or arterial thrombosis in that rare disease population.”
In winning the award, Dr Sayar was quick to thank research colleagues. She said: “The people I have worked with, and the papers I have read from different national and international research groups, have been a constant inspiration to me. Collaboration and openness in research is something that I have been very fortunate to experience and is something I would like to promote as well as the importance of the patient perspective.
“The NIHR has been invaluable in my research experience to date. They funded my research for the TiMM trial so without their support the cascade of events that led to this award would never have happened. They also supported whilst being in clinical medicine through my role on the Clinical Research Network and my involvement in HaemSTAR.”
Dr Sayar wins £500 as part of the award.