Professor Pierre D. Delmas, Founding President of IOF

It is with great sadness that the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) announces the untimely passing of Professor Pierre D. Delmas in Lyon, France on July 23, 2008 at the age of 58.

It is with great sadness that the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) announces the untimely passing of Professor Pierre D. Delmas in Lyon, France on July 23, 2008 at the age of 58. Pierre Delmas was the Founding President of IOF whose guiding vision helped to shape the organization and the global osteoporosis movement. The osteoporosis community has lost a brilliant researcher, clinician, educator and advocate who was unquestionably one of the most influential and respected thought leaders in the field.

Pierre Delmas is survived by his wife Debra and his two children Gauthier and Olivia.

Pierre qualified in Medicine at the Claude Bernard University in Lyon in 1975 and embarked upon a clinical academic career thereafter. He trained in clinical research at Lyon with Professor Pierre J. Meunier and thereafter completed a two year formative period of research training in the departments of endocrinology and biochemistry at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota in 1981 to 1982. This seminal period of his research training led to a long and fruitful collaboration with Professor B. Lawrence Riggs, in the years that were to follow.

On completion of his PhD in 1984, again through the Claude Bernard University of Lyon, Pierre joined the staff of the INSERM Research Unit 403 “Pathophysiology of Osteoporosis”, at the Edouard Herriot Hospital, Lyon, France and became the Director of this unit in 1992. His research group has been world leading in the development of novel markers of bone, cartilage and synovium metabolism, including osteocalcin and pyridinoline crosslinks, which have been shown to be useful in the clinical investigation of metabolic bone disorders and arthritis. Pierre also directed basic and clinical research programmes in metabolic bone diseases, with a special interest in osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. His research led to the authorship of more than 400 articles, reviews and chapters in a variety of international scientific journals and text books.

His breadth of experience, coupled with unique personal leadership qualities, equipped Pierre for a leading role as the “medical face” of osteoporosis worldwide. After overseeing the successful merger of the European Foundation for Osteoporosis and the International Federation of Skeletal Disease in 1994, he was elected as the Inaugural President of the International Osteoporosis Foundation, and remained so until very recently. Through his leadership of the Foundation, his contribution to the union of clinical research with patient care and health policy, and the resulting benefits to all osteoporosis sufferers, cannot be overstated. Indeed, his integrated research skills in clinical science, epidemiology, biochemistry, bioengineering, and health technology, permitted wonderful leadership through a halcyon era in osteoporosis research within which the risk of future fracture could be delineated with substantial confidence, and a variety of interventions could be effectively applied to reduce this. Pierre Delmas also contributed to the field through his editorship of Osteoporosis International and service on a host of editorial boards including the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, Bone and Calcified Tissue International. He was awarded the André Lichtwitz prize in 1985; and the Frederick Bartter Award of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research in 2004. He has been President of the World Congress on Osteoporosis on 4 occasions (Chicago 2000; Lisbon 2002; Rio de Janeiro 2004; and Toronto 2006).

Whilst his academic contributions will continue to be honoured, Pierre will also remain in our memories as a special friend. He was able to communicate the passion of his science to senior investigators and young researchers alike, permitting him to mentor a host of future leaders in the field. He was always available to give wise counsel, and his tact and diplomacy permitted rapprochement and union of a variety of osteoporosis initiatives worldwide. His cruel and premature departure leaves a sense of emptiness that will be shared by all among his field, friends and family.

Cyrus Cooper, Bess Dawson-Hughes, René Rizzoli, Judy Stenmark and John A Kanis
on behalf of the International Osteoporosis Foundation.