Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Mitigating risks due to the RBC storage lesion and vulnerable patients

What are the underlying dependencies (genomic, metabolic, disease) in individual donors that either accelerate or delay the changes to red blood cells during refrigerated storage? What methods of preparation might protect patients from the risks posed by the accelerated degradation of RBCs provided by "poor storers"? What characteristics of individual patients make them particularly vulnerable to transfusion of red ...more »

Submitted by (@andrew.dunham)

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 changes in red blood cells during refrigerated storage have been well documented and associated with negative clinical sequelae in the peer reviewed literature. While the impact of this so-called storage lesion does not impact every patient during every transfusion it is reasonable to expect that when a unit of blood is transfused to a particularly vulnerable patient from a donor that has red blood cells pre-disposed to degradation, stored in a manner that has allowed significant change to occur, the risk of a negative clinical sequelae is increased. In this case it will be important to understand what underlies the likelihood of a donors blood to store poorly, the changes that occur during storage that could impact vulnerable patients and design approaches to mitigate the degradation that could result.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

We believe mitigating the impact of the storage lesion is feasible by reducing and controlling the oxygen concentration in the RBC unit prior to refrigerated storage. We are continuing our development of a device to do this and to generate the data demonstrating the effect of deoxygenation and anaerobic storage.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Andrew Dunham

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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Optimal hemoglobin threshold for transfusion in children with ARDS?

Do different hemoglobin transfusion thresholds alter outcomes in children with ARDS? What is the optimal *minimum* transfusion threshold for children with ARDS? What patient-centered outcomes can be affected by transfusion strategies: ventilator free days, time to organ function recovery, duration of intensive care stay, survival?

Submitted by (@greg.martin)

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 : Society of Critical Care Medicine Executive Committee/Council

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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Innovations in Red Cell Transfusion in Sickle Cell Disease

Challenges that need to be overcome in blood transfusion, especially in SCD, include: a. Adopting molecular genotyping as the standard in blood transfusion therapy. b. Advancing new generation, anti-oxidant hemoglobin-based oxygen carriers (HBOCs) for use in emergencies such as trauma, stroke, acute hemolysis, and in transfusion in SCD and related disorders. In SCD, HBOCs have the capacity to not only serve as substitutes ...more »

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator1)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Transfusion of RBC is major adjunct in the management of trauma, acute and chronic illness. Issues in blood transfusion include availability of donors, RBC typing and crossmatching, cold storage of donor cells, and limited viability of stored RBC. Globally, in many situations where blood is critically needed, these systems are not available.

An increasing percentage of people with SCD require regular RBC transfusion to prevent stroke and other major complications. In addition, RBC transfusion is employed repeatedly in the management of serious acute complications of SCD. Transfusion of normal RBC to replace or supplement the patient’s defective RBC is the most effective intervention in the management of SCD.

 

Impacts:

• Molecular genotyping of RBC will reduce alloimmunization.

• Use of new generation HBOCs that do not require blood typing, crossmatching, refrigeration, and that do not transmit infection, would save lives in conditions of severe hemorrhage, stroke, possibly heart attack, especially where there is no immediate access to adequate medical facilities.

• In SCD, HBOCs could prevent pain or reduce its severity and duration, prevent stroke, reduce severity of acute chest syndrome, and other vasoocclusive complications. Finally, HBOCs have the potential to alter the pathogenesis of SCD.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

The problems in managing chronic RBC transfusion in SCD remain the same as they have been for decades: all immunization, iron overload, and infection transmission. It is clear that traditional serological RBC phenotyping is unable to detect several variants of RBC antigens, especially those in the Rh system, in populations of African descent. This leads to erroneous phenotyping and the appearance of “auto antibodies” that are truly alloantibodies resulting from transfusion of mismatched blood. As a result, people with SCD are the most frequent users of the American Rare Donor Program.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Kwaku Ohene-Frempong, MD

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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Optimization of Existing Therapies for Sickle Cell Disease

How can the safety, dosing and benefits of existing therapies for sickle cell disease such as hydroxyurea, be optimized in order to increase its efficacy and improve patient adherence?

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Hydroxyurea is a widely available disease-modifying therapy for sickle cell disease (SCD), but its effectiveness is currently limited by inadequate utilization, and less than optimal response. Research is needed to improve adherence to this evidence-based therapy and emphasis needs to be placed on determining whether therapy with hydroxyurea can prevent or even reverse organ dysfunction. In addition, research identifying new adjunct therapies to blood transfusion and hydroxyurea, as well as disease-specific therapies for co-morbidities such as kidney disease, hypertension, obstructive lung disease, and pulmonary hypertension will be valuable in the management and treatment of SCD.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Alice Kuaban on behalf of the American Society of Hematology (ASH)

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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Stem Cell Biology

There is a need to develop “designer platelets” and “designer red cells,” as well as facilitate large-scale production of these products for therapeutic and diagnostic use.

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 reprogramming of adult stem cells has resulted in the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) that can develop into any tissue of the body. These iPSCs ultimately may be used as a transplantable source of stem cells for a variety of hematologic diseases. Although this technology has enabled the generation of patient-specific or disease-specific stem cells that are also amenable to genetic manipulation, the major scientific hurdle has been the ability to create clinically meaningful functional blood products, including transplantable HSCs from differentiating iPSCs. The production of clinically functional blood products -- i.e. red blood cells derived from autologous iPSCs --could replace allogeneic products in highly immunized patients and the generation of megakaryocytes for patient-specific platelet production from iPSCs could drive significant progress in this area. Furthermore, disease-specific iPSCs could serve as targets for both drug development and drug screening in patients with rare hematologic disorders. In addition, support for scale-up and GMP processes, which are difficult to fund via the R01 mechanism will require specific grant opportunities tailored to infrastructure and process development.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Alice Kuaban on behalf of the American Society of Hematology (ASH)

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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Genomics in transfusion medicine

How can RBC genomics be utilized to improve outcomes with transfusion?

Submitted by (@barbarak)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Prevention of alloimmunization with transfusion

Improved understanding of RBC epitope diversity

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Utilize advances in genomics medicine to better understand impact of transfusion and to improve outcomes.

Limited donor pool, particularly in minority populations, presents challenges

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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Immune-Mediated hematologic disorders

What is the optimal approach to prevent and treat immune mediated hematologic disorders (autoimmune hemolytic anemia, immune thrombocytopenic purpura, etc) and complications of hematologic disease (inhibitors in hemophilia, transfusion-related alloimmunization, etc)

Submitted by (@barbarak)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Therapies for these disorders are suboptimal and current treatments are associated with significant side effects. Transfusion is limited by development of alloantibodies..

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

NHLBI should support clinical trials in this area. Improved understanding of the biology and biomarkers predictive of disease development would aid in defining therapeutic approaches and trials.

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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Evidence based approaches to Red Blood Cell transfusion

What are the optimal RBC transfusion thresholds for adult and pediatric cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy regimens that may improve functional status and quality of life?

Submitted by (@nareg.roubinian)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Cancer patients undergo intensive medical and surgical therapies to treat their underlying disease. Treatment commonly results in anemia requiring RBC and platelet transfusions to support the patient through the hypoproliferative phase of chemotherapy. This is particularly true for those patients requiring hematopoetic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Following therapy, cancer outpatients commonly receive RBC transfusions for weeks to months to maintain their functional status.

 

Common causes of death in patients with hematological malignancies and other cancers are infections and bleeding. A meta-analysis of clinical trials suggested that liberal transfusion is associated with greater risk of infection. Conversely, restrictive transfusion could adversely affect quality of life and functional status in oncology populations. In addition, pre-clinical and clinical studies support that concomitant anemia and thrombocytopenia significantly compound bleeding risk, and that hemostasis can be optimized in thrombocytopenia by maintaining a higher hematocrit. Although bleeding risks in relation to platelet transfusion thresholds are well studied in patients with hematological malignancy, optimal hemoglobin levels in thrombocytopenic patients are not known. Despite the significant allocation of blood components to cancer patients as a whole, RBC transfusion practices are not well studied within this group.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Randomized controlled clinical trials and other studies investigating optimal transfusion thresholds and other measures of practice are required to provide health care providers with evidence to guide one of the most common therapies administered in the setting of malignancy. The clinically important end points of well-designed studies could include: 1) quality of life and functional status for both inpatients and outpatients; 2) neurocognitive development in pediatric populations; 3) bleeding events / bleeding scores; 4) impact on immunity including immunomodulation and infection; 5) reconstitution of hematopoiesis; and 6) survival and/or recurrence of disease.. Besides a generalizable study population, certain target populations of interest are those with high risk disease, HSCT patients, patients undergoing radiation therapy, and pediatric patients.

 

There are >1.6 million new cases of cancer annually in the USA, including >50,000 with leukemia and >6,000 with HSCT. Cancer therapies are rapidly advancing in the era of genomics and immunotherapy. Capitalizing on the tradition of research in cancer, single and multicenter studies of RBC transfusion are feasible using randomized controlled designs in conjunction with clinical trials of chemotherapeutic regimens. The results of these studies will impact a large patient population’s quality of life, and may ultimately impact healthcare cost and blood demand.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Nareg Roubinian, MD and Naomi Luban, MD for the 2015 NHLBI State of the Science in Transfusion Medicine

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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Re-evaluating Hemoglobin Thresholds for Red Blood Cell Transfusion Decisions

Are there specific conditions where a liberal transfusion strategy results in lower 30-day mortality as compared to a restrictive transfusion strategy?

Submitted by (@nareg.roubinian)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

 Clinical trial data show that in multiple patient populations, a 7 to 8 g/dL hemoglobin threshold for red blood cell transfusion is safe. However, equipoise for transfusion thresholds persists in patients with ischemic heart disease and acute neurological conditions where a higher hemoglobin level may decrease ischemic injury to myocardial and cerebral tissues, respectively. Alternatively, liberal red blood cell transfusion may be associated with adverse outcomes such as pulmonary edema or increased rates of heart failure. In other populations, it is possible that even lower transfusion thresholds than 7 g/dL would be safely tolerated. On the other hand, if a 7 g/dL threshold is found to be superior to a lower threshold, this would establish a minimal appropriate threshold to initiate red blood cell transfusion.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Multicenter clinical trials that utilize markers of oxygen consumption are needed to answer these questions. A pilot study in patients with acute myocardial infarction demonstrated that recruitment was feasible for clinical scenarios in which equipoise exists. An international setting where the safety and availability of the blood supply remain significant issues may be best suited to answer the question of whether transfusion thresholds lower than 7 g/dL are safe.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Nareg Roubinian, MD and Naomi Luban, MD for the 2015 NHLBI State of the Science in Transfusion Medicine

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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

How should platelet (PLT) transfusions be used to treat active bleeding?

Multiple randomized controlled trials have been performed to evaluate the use of prophylactic PLT transfusions in non-bleeding, thrombocytopenic hematology-oncology patients. However no high-quality data exist to guide PLT transfusions in actively bleeding patients inclduing pediatric and adult medical and surgical patients. After hematology-oncology patients, cardiac surgery patients are the next largest group of PLT ...more »

Submitted by (@bldbuddy)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

PLT count is almost always the only laboratory result considered in deciding to transfuse PLTs. But PLT counts provide no information about PLT hemostatic function and its contribution to bleeding. A variety of in vitro coagulation tests have been developed: viscoelastography, whole blood PLT aggregometry, etc. But while testing-based transfusion algorithms may reduce blood product utilization, it has not been established that any in vitro test can either predict or help reduce bleeding. There is a gold standard method to assess clinical efficacy of transfused PLTs: incidence of grade 2 or higher bleeding in clinical trials of thrombocytopenic hematology-oncology patients receiving prophylactic PLT transfusions. No analogous gold standard of PLT hemostatic efficacy exists for therapeutic PLT transfusions to treat active bleeding. There is a pressing need to develop such a standard. Establishing reliable methods for evaluating the effects of PLT transfusion in actively bleeding patients will improve our understanding of how different factors (storage conditions, pathogen reduction etc.) affect the functional performance of PLTs.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

PLT transfusions are administered routinely to support bleeding pediatric and adult medical and surgical patients. Opportunities to conduct clinical trials in various settings (cardiac surgery, neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, trauma, etc.) are widely available. PLT transfusion is commonly used to support bleeding patients receiving perioperative supportive therapies such as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). These clinical situations represent critical opportunities to improve the care of bleeding patients. This approach will simultaneously facilitate comprehensive evaluation and validation of both current and novel in vitro tests of hemostasis. If a given in vitro test were reproducibly shown to correlate strongly with bleeding reduction caused by PLT transfusion, then by definition that would be a clinically meaningful test. Finally, this line of inquiry will allow assessment of the adverse effects of PLT transfusion in bleeding patients.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Terry Gernsheimer, University of Washington, for the 2015 NHLBI for the State of the Science in Transfusion Medicine

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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

What new methods of platelet preparation, processing, and storage are needed for hemostasis in various clinical conditions?

The limitations of 5-day 22˚ C storage significantly impacts platelet availability. It is critical that we develop new methods of collection, processing, storage to extend the storage time of platelets, and evaluate the use of whole blood. The attributes of these products must be understood to optimally alignment product attributes, clinical efficacy and safety with hemostatic needs in a variety of clinical states. Specifically, ...more »

Submitted by (@bldbuddy)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Limitations of current storage methods challenge our ability to meet the increasing demands of cancer chemotherapy and complex surgeries as well as provide platelets to remote areas where trauma frequently occurs. Platelets are transfused to prevent or control bleeding without robust translational or clinical trial evidence of efficacy and safety. In patients with hypoproliferative thrombocytopenia receiving chronic platelet transfusion predominantly for prophylaxis, post-transfusion increments, survival time, and durable hemostatic efficacy are important; however, platelet transfusion alone does not prevent bleeding. The overall state of hemostasis, the endothelium and donor characteristics that affect platelet quality may be important considerations in selecting the best platelet product tailored to individual patients. Better laboratory and clinical measures of platelet function, efficacy and safety are essential for best use of these limited resources. These outcomes should span and link in-vitro testing, animal models, and clinical effects such as thrombotic events, immune, hemostatic, and endothelial effects. Extrinsic, recipient factors (e.g., immune deficiency, platelet or endothelial dysfunction) and intrinsic factors (e.g., donor specific or platelet preparation) should be considered. Systematic analysis of recipients and donors should be broad and include considerations of glycomics, metabolomics, proteomics, genomics, in vivo microscopy, and advanced imaging.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Radiolabeled platelet recovery and survival methods are well established and feasible to perform at several centers within the US. Currently 4-6 million units of platelets and whole blood are transfused per year. It is very feasible to conduct clinical trials that compare methods of platelet preparation, processing, and storage in children and adults who require platelets for either prophylaxis or active bleeding. Multiple research networks that focus on both pediatric and adult transfusion medicine are motivated to perform the pre-clinical and clinical trials required to establish improved efficacy and safety of platelet-containing blood products.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Terry Gernsheimer, University of Washington, for the 2015 NHLBI State of the Science in Transfusion Medicine

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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Goal-directed versus Fixed-ratio plasma resuscitation in surgical (non-trauma) hemorrhage

For surgical patients meeting criteria for the critical RBC administration threshold (CAT) due to an associated coagulation disorder, which hemostatic resuscitation strategy (goal-directed versus ratio-based) is superior?

Submitted by (@darylkor)

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Perioperative hemorrhage remains a significant concern. Coagulopathy frequently develops in the setting of surgical hemorrhage and the optimal strategy for addressing this issue remains a matter of debate.

Military experience suggests the application of ratio-based plasma transfusion practices may improve clinical outcomes in the setting of massive hemorrhage. However, numerous concerns (e.g. survival bias, uniqueness of a military population, risk for adverse events related to high-volume plasma transfusion) preclude the broad generalization of such strategies to non-trauma surgical populations.

Goal-directed hemostatic resuscitation strategies (e.g. coagulation management based upon the results of hemostasis testing) have shown promise in specific surgical environments such as cardiac surgery and liver transplantation. However, definitive direct comparisons between goal-directed strategies and alternative approaches such as fixed-ratio plasma transfusion have not been performed. Moreover, the role of such strategies in more heterogeneous surgical populations remains uncertain. To better define the optimal approach to plasma transfusion strategies in the setting of intraoperative (non-trauma) hemorrhage, we propose a multicenter clinical trial directly comparing fixed-ratio and goal-directed plasma resuscitation strategies in the operating room environment.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Surgical patients with increased risk of hemorrhage may be targeted to improve subject recruitment (e.g. cardiac surgery, liver transplantation, aortic vascular surgery, multi-level instrumented spinal fusions or tumor resections, etc). Therefore, an adequately sized study population is likely to be present in a multicenter study and we believe such a trial would be feasible with NHLBI support.

 

To further enhance the feasibility of identifying a surgical population experiencing significant hemorrhage in a time-efficient manner, predictive algorithms such as the critical RBC administration threshold (CAT) could be also be employed.

 

The optimization of decisions related to plasma transfusion has the potential to improve not only clinical outcomes, but also healthcare resource utilization. Therefore, the outcomes of a trial in this domain could include both patient-important outcomes (e.g. mortality, bleeding complications), as well as outcomes related to healthcare utilization (e.g. total blood products consumed, hospital length of stay).

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Daryl J. Kor, MD and Walter H. Dzik, MD for the 2015 NHLBI State of the Science in Transfusion Medicine.

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