Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

ESTABLISHMENT OF APHERESIS MEDICINE CONSORTIUM TO ADVANCE DEVELOPMENT OF EVIDENCE BASED THERAPIES

The apheresis medicine encompasses treatment of numerous diseases many of which are directly related to blood, lung and heart. There is a need to establish consortia for Apheresis Medicine to facilitate networking, information exchange and research collaboration among investigators, including junior investigators. These consortia would perform basic science as well as translational research and investigate the best pathways to develop biorepositories and to establish data registries.

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Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

The creation of one or more Research Consortia devoted to research in Apheresis Medicine would allow for the establishment and support of a core group of investigators and institutions representing key specialty areas across the spectrum of Apheresis Medicine. An initial focus would be translational research priorities. In addition, we believe that a strong U.S. based consortium would facilitate participation of international investigators and societies, which would improve patient accrual on studies, especially those patients with rare disorders or who have rare indications for apheresis therapy. Such a group would significantly enhance the likelihood of completing high quality studies.

 

There is increasing national interest in developing new registries, bio-repositories and data-repositories. Very often such efforts do not include information regarding apheresis nor do they consider apheresis information as being important data points. A centralized, well organized and sustainable registry, either established and/or new for Apheresis Medicine, would be of great value to study the outcomes of therapeutic apheresis for different disease conditions. This need is particularly relevant for rare disorders and rare indications, for which a pilot effort is already being undertaken and sponsored by ASFA- the American Society for Apheresis.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Feasibility: There are hundreds of thousands apheresis procedures performed each year in the US. Many of these procedures are performed in tertiary and quaternary academic medical centers. These centers have experience in education, basic science, translational research and clinical trials. Despite the low frequency of some diseases there is a real possibility of performing clinical trials in the context of multicenter consortium. Such consortium could also assist in development of new projects related to Apheresis Medicine (both basic science and clinical) which then can proceed to clinical trials quickly as the appropriate infrastructure will be created within the consortium. This infrastructure would also serve education of the new investigators.

Challenges: Standardization of approaches between different medical centers might be initially difficult, but as it has been shown many centers follow in their clinical practice ASFA designated indications. Setting up research priorities for the consortium might be challenging as well as accrual patients to clinical trials within the consortium. Though standardization of the apheresis devices is not feasible, this could be mitigated by appropriate study designs. The number of investigators in apheresis medicine is limited but the consortium may serve as a great platform to expand its numbers through collaborative efforts of involved centers.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Zbigniew M. Szczepiorkowski, Yanyun Wu on behalf of ASFA

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Idea No. 734