Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Hypoxia, acute chest syndrome and sickle cell disease

What markers in sickle cell disease can predict hypoxia after acute chest syndrome or pneumonia?

Submitted by (@sicklecellwarrior)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Understanding that sickle cell disease has a character of depriving oxygen, is there any predicators that can tell if a child will have hypoxia after experiencing acute chest syndrome or pneumonia.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Sickle Cell Warriors, Inc. community members

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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Mental health and wellness in sickle cell disease

A growing concern among the sickle cell community surrounds the lack of mental health and wellness services. Many in the community deal with anxiety and depression. It is well known how intricately connected mental and physical health are. So if we know that stress can trigger a psychological crisis which in turn triggers a physical pain crisis, why do we not automatically include mental health services within patient ...more »

Submitted by (@sicklecellwarrior)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Many in the SCD community feel like providers do not take a proactive approach to mental health. A comprehensive approach to developing mental health and wellness services and programs provides an opportunity to address factors contributing to morbidity, and perhaps mortality, in the SCD community, outside of the hospital walls.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Sickle Cell Warriors, Inc. community members

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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Pulmonary Complications of Sickle Cell Disease

Do SCD patients with hemodynamics consistent with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) respond to medications designed to treat PAH?

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

What is known about this topic:

1) Case series have demonstrated potential therapeutic benefits for endothelin receptor antagonists, phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors and prostacyclins in PH of SCD patients

2) Three attempted randomized placebo controlled trials of these agents in SCD patients have not gone to completion and, as a result, were under-powered to demonstrate efficacy.

3) Sildenafil produced an increase in hospitalization for pain crises in this population.

4) Anecdotally, select SCD patients with PAH have hemodynamic and clinical benefits from PAH medications.

5) Approximately ½ of PH in SCD patients have some degree of pulmonary venous hypertension and these medications may not be helpful here.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Areas of controversy:

1) Only one of the three randomized controlled trials required a PAH diagnosis prior to randomization, so the actual question hasn’t been properly addressed.

2) SCD patients with PAH are different than idiopathic PAH patients in terms of their underlying disease, so possibly the treatment response is different.

3) What are the right clinical trial endpoints for this population?

4) What is the role of SCD specific therapy (hydroxyurea, transfusions) in treating PAH of SCD?

5) How can investigators design a clinical trial which allows for enough patient accrual to achieve its endpoints?

6) What novel therapies can be developed to treat this population?

7) What unrecognized medication toxicities are SCD patients at increased risk for?

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : ATS Member

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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

What is the place of curative therapies in the management of Sickle Cell Disease

Advances in the care of pediatric patients with sickle cell disease ( SCD) have resulted in improved survival to adulthood.However, adulthood is marked by rapid disease progression, impaired quality of life and premature mortality. Hematopoietic cell transplantation(HCT) from matched sibling donor has curative potential, but has been offered mainly to children. Refinements in the conditioning regimen, supportive care, ...more »

Submitted by (@lakshmanankrishnamurti)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

To overcome this obstacle to progress in the field, we propose the creation of the funding mechanisms for a multicenter clinical trial consortium which would bring together investigators in field and facilitate study the outcomes of CT for patients with different types of donors and stem cell sources and compare them to outcomes in phenotypically matched controls receiving best available standard of care.Answering the compelling question about the role of CT in the management of SCD has the potential to have a catalytic effect in progress in this field. Patients are are then more likely to receive CT or standard of care at the appropriate time and in the manner in which they are most likely to have a positive outcome. This has the potential to reduce morbidity and premature mortality and in the long run, to decrease the burden of the disease on the healthcare system. The advent of clinical trials of gene therapies for SCD offers the prospect of even greater applicability of curative therapies. Thus, a consortium developed to answer this CQ would serve as a crucial vehicle for providing access to a greater proportion of patient to these personalized curative therapies . Such studies would also be powered to answer the question about who should receive the curative therapy, when they should receive it, and how it would impact their SCD related complications, late effects, survival and quality of life and help families make informed choice appropriate for their situation.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

The increasing applicability and acceptability of HCT for SCD is evidenced by the doubling in the number of such procedures reported to CIBMTR in the decade starting 2001. Refinements in conditioning regimen and supportive care continue to improve outcomes in children and now in adults with SCD undergoing HCT from HLA matched related donors. Recently, HCT from unrelated donors and from haplo-identical donors have further increased the applicability of HCT. Opening of gene therapy trials has further raised the prospect of cure for a greater proportion of patients. These developments are evidence of the feasibility of recruitment to large multi-center comparative trials of SCD and standard of care. Recently, there has been increasing collaboration among investigators in the field with informal consortia being developed by investigators coming together to study HCT for children, adults or HCT from haplo-identical donors. These groups are also increasingly working with SCD hematologists, families and other stakeholders. There is also increasing cross-cutting collaborations with other medical specialists and behavioral and translational scientists Thus, the convergence of several factors described above suggests that the time is fortuitous for a major initiative from the NHLBI to bring investigators together and create the infrastructure that will enable these investigators to seek definitive answers to the challenging question “What is the place of curative therapy in SCD?”.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Lakshmanan Krishnamurti, MD, Allistair Abraham MD, John Horan MD and members of the Sickle cell Transplantation and Research Alliance

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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Transplantation across HLA barriers in aplastic anemia

Allogeneic stem cell transplantation is curative in aplastic anemia with much less intrinsic toxicity than transplantation in hematologic malignancies. The recent BMT-CTN trial demonstrated 97% survival at one year with little subsequent decline. However patients without matched related or unrelated donors have graft-rejection rates of up to 50%. Preliminary data from the Netherlands suggests that anti-thymocyte globulin ...more »

Submitted by (@jantin)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

The use of umbilical cord blood or haploidentical donors has proven effective in patients with hematologic malignancies, but in non-malignant disorders outcomes are limited by graft rejection. Overcoming rejection in this context would be applicable to other non-malignant disorders such as thalassemia, sickle cell anemia, and other congenital disorders of hematopoiesis.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

It will require a large coordinated network like BMT-CTN to obtain sufficient patients studied in a uniform fashion to provide consistent reproducible data. .

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Joseph Antin

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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Allogeneic transplantation as a safe and universally available therapeutic strategy for treating non-malignant blood diseases

Can new advances in allogeneic blood or marrow transplantation (BMT) make the procedure a safe and universally available therapeutic strategy for treating non-malignant blood and immune disorders such as sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, aplastic anemia, and severe combined immune deficiency?

Submitted by (@rjjones)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

The ability of allogeneic blood or marrow transplantation (BMT) to cure diverse non-malignant diseases is well-documented. However, widespread use in diseases such as sickle cell anemia that cause substantial morbidity and shorten life but are not immediately life-threatening, has been limited by transplant-related toxicity and mortality especially in the majority of these patients who lack HLA-matched donors. Several new therapeutic approaches now exist that are promising strategies, separately or in combination, for addressing issues of donor availability, graft rejection, organ toxicity and acute and chronic graft-versus-host disease more effectively. Evaluation and refinement of these therapeutic strategies in both preclinical and Phase I-III clinical trials now offers a real possibility that allogeneic BMT could be applied early in the course of these diseases, allowing normal growth, development, quality of life and lifespan. If successful, allogeneic BMT offers a major advantage over gene therapy approaches even if such approaches become possible in the future; i.e., allogeneic BMT can be done with low-dose, non-toxic conditioning while gene therapy requires high-dose myeloablative therapy which not only can be toxic/fatal to these patients who often have end-organ dysfunction but also universally induces infertility, a major concern of patient groups who usually survive beyond child-bearing years.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

There are now single institution and registry (CIBMTR) data showing that related haploidentical allogeneic BMT using post-transplantation cyclophosphamide (PTCy) produces results similar to those seen with HLA-matched sibling donors. Accordingly, every patient in need of allogeneic BMT now can safely undergo the procedure, including those ethnic groups (such as African-Americans and Hispanics) who are unlikely to find a donor in unrelated registries. Combining PTCy with other approaches for preventing graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) can even eliminate GVHD and transplant-related mortality. Although recurrence of malignant diseases remains an issue, especially as GVHD is eliminated, relapse is not a concern for non-malignant diseases after successful allogeneic engraftment. Moreover, the average cost of allogeneic BMT, about $150K, is a cost-savings over the long-term management of many of these diseases. The NHLBI-funded BMT Clinical Trials Network (CTN) has developed the infrastructure to rapidly and efficiently carry out large multi-institutional BMT trials. Over the last 15 year, thousands of patients have been entered on BMT CTN trials. Of note, African-Americans and Hispanics remarkably represent 30% of the accruals on one such trial, CTN1101, studying unrelated umbilical cord and related haploidentical allogeneic BMT. However, funding for the infrastructure for continuing this work remains problematic, since BMT trials generally lack corporate funding.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Rick Jones

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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Impact of each VOC Crisis in patients with sickle cell disease

While the long term cumulative effects of frequency, duration and severity of VOC on mortality is known in SCD, there is little known about the impact of each individual crisis or the amount of damage during crisis versus background smoldering ischemia from the disease. Any effort in quantifying this for SCD in the absence of interventional agents initially, and then as a potential measurement of the benefit of drug ...more »

Submitted by (@tosinola)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

This may help science inform additional treatment options for sickle cell disease, and serve as a cornerstone for further research particularly in the realms of drug development that addresses individual components of a sickle cell crisis.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

This is feasible but has not been chosen as a research prerogative. A challenge is that there is no current way to measure what happens internally during a VOC.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Tosin Ola, Greg Gorgas

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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

What do the newer treatments in R&D tell us about the management of SCD?

What is the molecular mechanism by which new drug therapies propose to reduce the severity and duration of hospitalization and opioid pain medicines? And how does that impact the course of disease progression?

Submitted by (@sicklecellwarrior)

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

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Sickle Cell Warriors, Inc. community members

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20 up votes
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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Pulmonary Complications of Sickle Cell Disease

What are the risk factors and components of clinical course associated with progression to restrictive lung disease, and what approaches to treatment can limit this progression?

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

RLD is a major risk factor for death in adults, but there is minimal knowledge of the sequelae of contributing factors. There is no longitudinal study to demonstrate the risk factors, determinants, biological. A cross sectional study of adults could determine prevalence of lung function abnormalities, obstructive and restrictive, using standardized testing and understand the factors associated with the presence of these abnormalities. This study could be associated with a clinical trial of treatment of RLD with outcomes of symptom reduction as well as improvement of the restriction.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : ATS Member

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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Identifying Epistatic Genes in Sickle Cell Disease

What genes are involved in the modulation of phenotype in sickle cell disease?

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

The pathophysiology of sickle cell disease results from cellular defects caused directly by the Hb S mutation interacting with the environment and many other gene products—some known, but most yet unidentified–a typical example of epistasis. How normal tissue perfusion is interrupted is complex and why the phenotype of sickle cell disease differs from patient to patient is poorly understood. Answers to this question will provide additional insight into their biological and functional relationships.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Scientific advances make it feasible to identify additional epistatic genes, which will provide additional insight into their biological and functional relationships.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : The Sickle Cell Association of New Jersey

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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Maximizing anti-tumor immunity following allogeneic HCT with biomarkers

Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT) is one of the most effective forms of tumor immunotherapy available to date. Allo-HCT can be life-saving for patients with aggressive malignancies that cannot be cured through other strategies. The immunotherapeutic efficacy of allo-HCT depends on donor T cell recognition of alloantigens on leukemic cells, which is known as the graft-versus-tumor effect (GVT). No ...more »

Submitted by (@sophpacz)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Allo-HCT represents the only curative therapy for a number of malignant disorders but often results in serious complications, including GVHD. Because GVHD is such a potentially devastating post-transplant complication and because we want to be able to separate GVHD from the GVT effect, it is crucial to try to determine a specific biological pattern link to the favorable GVT effect. The focus of this critical challenge will be to develop a novel, non-invasive GVT signature in patients undergoing HCT. If successful, this will have a major impact, because a GVT-specific proteomic signature may facilitate the clinical therapeutic decision of rapid taper of immunosuppression or increased immunotherapies. The ability to identify patients who will not develop GVT early post-transplant has important therapeutic consequences, including preventative care with donor-lymphocyte infusion (DLI) or tumor-specific vaccines or T cells expressing chimeric antigen receptors (CARs). Equally important is the identification of patients who will develop GVT without GVHD, potentially enabling more rapid tapering of immunosuppressive regimens and thereby promoting even more the GVT reaction as well as reducing long-term toxicity in these patients. With this diagnostic tool, the HCT community may plan to develop preemptive therapeutic trials. In addition, the biomarkers may represent potential GVT-specific therapeutic targets to maximize GVT and/or immunotherapies.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Using proteomics, several GVHD biomarkers were recently identified and validated. For example, high suppression of tumorigenicity 2 (ST2) plasma concentrations were significantly associated with the incidence of GVHD and transplant-related mortality in recipients of unmanipulated graft and cord blood transplants. Consequently, the Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trial network is currently pursuing therapeutic interventions for newly diagnosed GVHD patients based on GVHD biomarkers risk-stratification. Thus, discovering and validating biomarkers post-HCT is feasible. However, the challenges with GVT-specific biomarkers are three-fold: 1) the absence of phenotype, as the only way to define clinical GVT without GVHD, is the absence of relapse and no GVHD post-HCT; 2) the paucity of samples to study GVT, ideally samples following DLI or nonmyeloablative conditioning preparative regimens that permit stable engraftment of donor hematopoietic cells but have little or no direct tumoricidal activity should be available; and 3) the relative lack of knowledge of the biology of GVT. These represent important challenges to solve. In sum, the recent successes of cancer immunotherapies, particularly for the treatment of hematological malignancies, have stimulated interest in the potential widespread application of these approaches, and biomarkers to predict and monitor the responses are required.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Sophie Paczesny

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