Showing 13 ideas for tag "apheresis"

Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Does lowering circulating lipoprotein(a) levels influence cardiovascular outcomes?

A comprehensive research strategy and plan is needed to determine the most efficient, safe, cost-effective and widely applicable strategy to decrease circulating levels of lipoprotein(a) and to determine whether lowering circulating lipoprotein(a) levels will reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease such as a heart attack or a stroke as well as the progression of atherosclerosis or aortic stenosis.

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

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Approximately 20% of the population are characterized by elevated circulating levels of lipoprotein(a), regardless of age, gender or blood cholesterol levels. Estimates suggest that up to 90% of the variation in plasma lipoprotein(a) levels could be due to genetic factors, which makes lipoprotein(a) the most prevalent inherited risk factor for cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Large-scale genetic studies have shown that Lipoprotein(a) was the strongest genetic determinant of CVD such as atherosclerosis and aortic stenosis. Lipoprotein(a) is one of the strongest predictors of residual CVD risk and has been shown to improve CVD risk prediction in several population-based studies. Lipoprotein(a) is also one of the strongest known risk factors for spontaneous ischemic stroke in childhood.
A comprehensive research strategy aiming at identifying, evaluating interaction with other risk factors, treating and educating patients with elevated lipoprotein(a) levels would result in substantial reductions of health care costs in the US and around the globe by reducing the burden of CVD while simultaneously improving the quality of life of these patients.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC

The list of pharmaceutical agents that reduce lipoprotein(a) levels is steadily increasing. There are approximately half a dozen strategies that have been shown to significantly and safely lower lipoprotein(a) levels. One of the challenges of this research strategy will be to determine which of these strategies represent the most efficient, safe, cost-effective and widely applicable approach to lower lipoprotein(a) levels and CVD outcomes.
Increasing awareness on lipoprotein(a) and CVD will also be of utmost importance for this effort as relatively few physicians perform lipoprotein(a) testing and even fewer patients are aware of their lipoprotein(a) level. The first sign of high lipoprotein(a) is often a heart attack or stroke. Our challenge will be to identify patients with high lipoprotein(a) that could be enrolled in trials of risk characterization and lipoprotein(a)-lowering.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea Sandra Revill Tremulis on behalf of the Lipoprotein(a) Foundation Scientific Advisory Board

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235 net votes
297 up votes
62 down votes
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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Apheresis Medicine in the Management of Sickle Cell Disease

Despite advances in care, patients with sickle cell disease have significant morbidity and mortality. One challenge is the optimal use of simple vs exchange transfusion vs no transfusion when managing these patients. Simple transfusions lead to iron overload while exchange transfusions may expose patients to increase numbers of red blood cell units. The mechanism of benefit from transfusion (oxygen delivery vs marrow... more »

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC

SCD is the most common genetic disease in the United States affecting 100,000 individuals or 1 in 400 African American births. Pain, stroke, acute chest syndrome and priapism are common morbidities affecting patients with sickle cell disease, which often result in emergency room visits and/or hospitalizations. Despite advances in treatment, sickle cell disease is associated with significant mortality and shortened life expectancy. Defining the optimal role of red blood cell exchange and plasma exchange (which may be used to remove plasma molecules such as inflammatory factors and free hemoglobin) in the management and prevention of the complications of sickle cell disease and may not only prolong the life of these patients but is expected to improve the quality of their lives. In addition, clearly defining the indications for simple verses exchange transfusion therapy has the potential to minimize both alloimmunization to red blood cells (reported to occur in up to 75% of patients with sickle cell disease) and iron overload associated with transfusion.

Transfusion therapy may be efficacious to sickle cell patients by providing increased oxygen delivery to tissues and/or decreasing the amount of sickle hemoglobin present by suppression of erythropoiesis. Understanding the relative contributions of these mechanisms will assist with optimal use of transfusion therapy as well as inform the development of novel alternative therapies

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC

Multi-center trials should be feasible, given the number of patients with sickle cell disease in the US. Participation by larger academic centers which care for sickle cell patients should facilitate trials. Methods for automated red cell exchange and plasma exchange are available and in common use at many centers. Great interest exists among physicians caring for sickle cell patients (as exemplified by the recent NIH consensus document and ASFA sickle cell consensus conference) which is a strength of this proposal. Challenges include agreement on standard treatment protocols across centers and long term follow up of patients. Maintaining vascular access in sickle cell patients is another challenge when performing apheresis procedures on sickle cell patients

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea Bruce Sachais on behalf of ASFA

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130 net votes
152 up votes
22 down votes
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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Development of Novel Apheresis Adsorption Technologies to More Effectively and Safely Treat Hematologic Diseases

Current FDA approved apheresis technology currently uses elutriation/centrifugation separation techniques to remove pathologic cellular and/or plasma elements. These techniques are non-specific, limited by inefficient removal kinetics and often require considerable blood product exposure. Despite tremendous improvement in our understanding of the pathophysiology of a variety of disease, our ability to treat many of... more »

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC

More efficient and novel means of selectively removing pathologic cellular and/or plasma elements are needed when a disease specific pathologic cellular element or plasma element is identified (i.e. anti-RBC autoantibodies in patient with severe autoimmune hemolytic anemia, anti-platelet antibody in patients with autoimmune thrombocytopenic purpura, anti-platelet factor four antibodies associated with heparin associated thrombocytopenia, complement fixing, donor specific antibodies in antibody mediated cardiac rejection, antibodies implicated in catastrophic antiphospholipid syndrome, mediators of the inflammatory response in sepsis, etc. ).

These are especially needed in patients who are critically ill and in need of rapid removal of these pathologic blood elements. Selectively and rapidly removing disease associated cellular and/or plasma elements while returning the remainder of the patient’s cells and/or plasma can minimize additional blood product exposure with its attendant risks, reduce duration of treatment significantly, and offer new forms of treatment either not available in the U.S. or not previously considered.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC

Selective removal of pathologic plasma elements has been demonstrated by the development of selective adsorption columns which bind inflammatory mediators and immunoglobulins, but are not currently being used in the U.S. Current technology exists to remove specific pathologic plasma elements. For example, immunoadsorption technology, which incorporates polyclonal sheep anti-human IgG antibodies bound covalently to sepharose columns can remove >98% of all IgG subclasses after multiple treatment sessions. Similar effect can be obtained by Protein A sepharose column (Prosorba) technology which had been approved for use by the FDA for rheumatoid arthritis; however, in 2006 the manufacturer stopped producing the column due to financial reasons. Clearly, research into the use of these columns in the context of well designed, randomized clinical trials would be readily feasible with the appropriate IND and require industry support.

Furthermore, the technology that is used to couple sheep anti-human IgG antibodies to sepharose, can used to create antigen specific adsorption columns for removal of specific pathologic antibodies, for example, anti-PF4 antibodies that are involved in heparin associated thrombocytopenia, or Clq dependent (C1q) donor specific HLA antibodies that are involved in antibody mediated cardiac rejection. Industry support/small business grant support will be needed for development of these columns in addition to clinical trials demonstrating efficacy

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea Edward Wong on behalf of ASFA

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93 net votes
112 up votes
19 down votes
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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Lipid apheresis as adjunct therapy in peripheral vascular disease

What is the roll of inflammation and how does lipid apheresis alter inflammation in peripheral vascular disease when added to standard therapy and/or when used alone? Does lipid apheresis result in long-term improvement with reduced morbidity, mortality, and expense compared to standard therapy?

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 prevalence of peripheral vascular disease (PVD) in the United States is estimated to be 5.9%, affecting up to 20% of adults over the age of 65. Therapy for PVD is vascular surgical intervention for limb ischemia; combined with medical therapy and anti-platelet agents but morbidity and mortality remains high. Low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-c) is associated with increased risk for development and progression of PVD. Preliminary studies of the use of lipid apheresis have demonstrated improvement in symptoms and a variety of laboratory measures with decreased morbidity when added to standard therapy. The mechanism of this treatment may go beyond reducing LDL-c as the columns also affect levels of inflammatory cytokines, alter blood rheology, and affect other lipids.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC

Currently two lipid apheresis devices have been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration and are in use in the United States. The presence of cleared devices, the large number of affected patients, and availability of testing for lipoproteins, fibrinogen, CRP, PAI-1, IL-6, IL-17, IL-1, IL-10, INF-γ, VEGF, PGI2, IGF-I and rheology factors make the enrollment and evaluation of patients into a clinical trial examining the use of this treatment of PVD feasible. Challenges for the performance of a clinical trial would include the limited number of centers offering lipid apheresis, the chronic nature and length of time needed to perform lipid apheresis, and the expense of the lipid apheresis devices and disposables.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea Bruce Sachais on behalf of ASFA

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96 net votes
116 up votes
20 down votes
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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Immunologic predictors of cardiac function following apheresis for dilated cardiomyopathy

Apheresis has been used to treat dilated cardiomyopathy yet the mechanism of action and predictors of response are unknown and clinical utility needs to be confirmed. What is the clinical utility, mechanism of action, and predictors of response?

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC

Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is progressive ventricular enlargement and dysfunction, responsible for 10,000 deaths and 46,000 hospitalizations in the U.S. annually. It is the primary indication for heart transplantation. It may represent viral infection triggered autoimmunity with myocardial autoantibodies identified in 80% of patients and higher autoimmune disease prevalence in patients.

Immunoadsorption and plasma exchange have been used to treat DCM. Staphylococcal protein A agarose (SPAA) columns have the largest published evidence with improved left ventricular (LV)ejection fraction, decreased LV circumference, decreased BNP, improved exercise tolerance, improved oxygen uptake, increased regulator T-cells, decreased stimulatory T-cells, decreased costimulatory T-cells, and improved quality of life. Decreased morbidity and mortality with fewer patients progressing to transplantation and lower health care costs has been described. Given organ shortages, morbidity, and expense of transplantation, a treatment that delays or avoids transplantation would improve health and reduced costs.

Immunological variables such as IgG subtypes, Th1, Th2, Th17 and T regulatory cell number, associated cytokines, and nuclear transcription factors implicated in DCM pathogenesis could correlate with LV function following apheresis and identify apheresis selection criteria and offer a novel mechanism to investigate how autoantibody reduction influences cellular immune components.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC

DCM is the most common cause of cardiac transplantation with a large number of patients available for study. There are numerous standardized tools for measuring patient quality of life and function for those suffering from congestive heart failure. There are readily available assays for examining potential immunologic variables. If TPE is examined, this procedure is readily available.

Challenges would include the fact that the immunoadsorption columns that have been used are not cleared by the Food and Drug Administration and therefore there is limited to no experience with their use in the U.S. Immunologic evaluations could also require endomyocardial biopsy which represents an invasive procedure which could limit patient enrollment and increase risk.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea Bruce Saichais on behalf of ASFA

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54 net votes
80 up votes
26 down votes
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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

The role of Extracorporeal Photopheresis (ECP) in the prophylaxis and treatment of acute & chronic Graft Versus Host Disease

In Acute Graft Versus Host Disease (aGVHD), we would like to examine whether early and intensified delivery of ECP as part of standard prophylaxis will decrease overall corticosteroid exposure while preserving expected relapse rates in patients undergoing unrelated donor hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT).
Chronic GVHD (cGVHD) is common after HSCT (30-50% recipients) and is a major contributor to late transplant-related... more »

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC

Patients who develop aGVHD undergo toxic therapy with high-dose corticosteroids, often for long durations, resulting in high morbidity and treatment related mortality. Alternatively, T cell depletion of the donor graft to reduce GVHD is associated with high rates of infection and relapse of the disease that led to the HSCT. Targeting other pathways of GVHD pathogenesis may preserve the beneficial immune reconstitution and graft-versus-tumor (GVT) effects, while ameliorating the severity of GVHD. One such pathway involves regulatory T cells (T regs), which inhibit T cell alloreactivity, and are correlated with the incidence and severity of GVHD without loss of GVT. To date, there is no consensus on a standard second-line therapy for aGVHD, and current approaches focus mainly on intensification of immunosuppression. Addressing this compelling question will help to decrease overall corticosteroid exposure while preserving the expected relapse rates in patients undergoing unrelated donor HSCT.

Appropriate initial therapy for cGVHD involves high doses & prolonged use (yrs) of corticosteroids, while patients still develop irreversible sclerotic manifestations of disease. Early intervention prior to disease onset may help prevent cGVHD development or lessen its severity, requiring less corticosteroid exposure. Addressing the compelling question for cGVHD will help decrease exposure to drugs with associated morbidity, while preserving expected relapse rates in these patients.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC

Feasibility:

  • GVHD has relatively high incidence after HSCT and at the same time there is a lack of consensus on standard second line therapy for the disease. Thus, there will be increased interest in developing and participation in those studies.

** ECP is generally well tolerated and complications are infrequent.

*** There is a great potential for multi-discipline collaboration approach in this patients’ population.

*** There is an opportunity to engage industry partners in the design and support for these studies.

**** There are numerous scientific opportunities for meritorious science as there have been limited systematic studies of ECP mechanisms of as well as standardization of apheresis protocols based on GVHD disease state.

 

 

Challenges:

  • Limited number of institutions providing ECP treatment.

** Cost of the procedures (although Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services now covers ECP for cGVHD).

*** There is a very limited number of animal models available for apheresis research in general, and studies of the mechanism(s) of action of photopheresis have been very limited as well as difficult and expensive to perform. However understanding pathological mechanisms and its relationship to response to apheresis is critical for optimization and advancement of patient care.

****Lack of infra-structure for apheresis research.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea Joseph Schwartz on behalf of ASFA

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103 net votes
126 up votes
23 down votes
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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Novel Cell Apheresis Technologies to Treat Hematologic Diseases

Current FDA approved apheresis technology uses elutriation/centrifugation or filtration separation techniques to remove pathologic cellular and/or plasma elements. Currently these techniques are non-specific, limited by inefficient removal kinetics and often require considerable blood product exposure. Despite tremendous improvement in our understanding of the pathophysiology of a variety of disease, our ability to... more »

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC

Novel means of selectively removing unique cellular elements involved in disease modulation are needed. For example, microparticles (MPs) have been implicated in a variety of biological processes such as: a) coagulation (e.g. platelet MPs has shown to be 50-100 times more procoagulant than activated platelets), b) oxidative stress (e.g. promotion of oxidative stress via endothelial-, monocyte-, or lymphocyte-derived MPs), and c) inflammation (e.g. acute lung injury in a rat model of acute lung injury). In regards to specific hematologic disease, the hypercoagulability associated with sickle cell disease, for example, may be the result of chronic hemolysis and circulating cell-derived MPs originating from activated platelets and erythrocytes. Endothelial progenitor cells when infused into patients with acute myocardial infarction have been shown to improve ventricular ejection fraction, cardiac geometry, coronary blood flow reserve and myocardial viability. Finally, apheresis for cells of the immune system such as T regulatory cells, cytotoxic T cells, monocytes, dendritic cells, and NK cells will be useful in immunotherapy approaches to hematologic disease. Removal of unique cellular elements may result in amelioration/treatment of associated diseases, or conversely, infusion of these cellular elements may be used to treat disease via a cellular therapy approach. Currently, apheresis methodologies that can selectively remove these unique cellular elements do not exist

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC

Large scale cell separation of unique cellular elements requires new approaches. Although there are no prototypic cell separation devices that can be used for clinical purposes, the emergence of microfluidic technologies have demonstrated alternatives to current cell separator technology. For example, microfluidic technology has utilized imaging/optical signal-based, magnetic, dielectrophoretic, mechanical/hydrodynamic, and molecular cell surface recognition principles to effect cell separation. Recently, acoustic separation of tumor from normal cells has been developed and offers a unique method for label free cell separation. Clearly, research into the use of these cell separation technologies on a clinical scale would require significant research and development/small business grant support and industry input with eventual need for clinical trials of these new devices to demonstrate utility.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea Edward Wong on behalf of ASFA

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118 net votes
139 up votes
21 down votes
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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Study on key product factors for optimal Bone Marrow Transplantation (BMT) graft function

Hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPC) collected by Apheresis is the most common source used for BMT. How the cells are collected and what kinds of cells are collected can affect BMT graft function. Limited studies have been done to study the key product factors in relationship to optimal graft function.
Questions remain such as the optimal lymphocytes contents for reduced infection post BMT, optimal megakaryocyte precursor... more »

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC

Optimal cell therapy products can lead to reduced post BMT complication and reduced morbidity and mortality.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC

In vitro, animal studies, clinical samples can be used for key product factors for optimal BMT graft function.
These can be achieved if funding is available, as there are many centers perform allo and auto BMT.
Funding support is critically needed in this area.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea Yanyun Wu on behalf of ASFA

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70 net votes
93 up votes
23 down votes
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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Study on the Immunologic Effects of ECP (Extracorporeal Photopheresis)

The clinical use of extracorporeal photopheresis (ECP) is expanding. It is known that dendritic cells plays critical role key to its efficacy, but exactly how ECP impacts other immune components and their interactions is not fully understood. There are many unanswered questions such as: “ What are the critical factors in ECP that result in a shift of the dendritic cell population from immune activating to immune tolerant?... more »

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

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Further basic science research is necessary to elucidate how these cellular activities are functionally integrated and regulated.
It is critical to understand the role of ECP in immunomodulation and tumor immunotherapy, thus better clinical protocol can be developed with optimal immune balance to achieve therapeutic target and minimize side effects.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC

Studying immunomodulation in ECP patients offers a true bench to bedside opportunity. Experimental protocols can utilize in vitro, animal and clinical study designs targeted at immunotolerance and tumor vaccines
There are a very limited number of animal models available for apheresis research in general, and studies of the mechanism(s) of action of photopheresis have been very limited as well as difficult and expensive to perform. Funding support is critically needed in this area.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea Yanyun Wu on behalf of ASFA

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91 net votes
108 up votes
17 down votes
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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

TREATMENT OF SEPSIS-MULTIPLE ORGAN DYSFUNCTION SYNDROME (MODS) UTILIZING APHERESIS BASED STRATEGIES

Sepsis, a systemic inflammatory response to infection, is the most common cause of death in non-cardiac intensive care units. The incidence and severity of sepsis have increased over the last two decades. With advances in supportive care, sepsis carries a mortality that averages 17%, however, this figure increases to 50 - 80% in Multiple Organ Dysfunction Syndrome (MODS), defined as failure of 3 or more organ systems.... more »

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC

Despite many attempts, therapeutic trials using pharmacologic agents to interrupt specific pathways of inflammation and coagulation have been unsuccessful. The failed targeted therapies include the administration of corticosteroids, monoclonal antibodies to TNF, soluble TNF receptor, antithrombin (AT), activated protein C, and tissue factor pathway inhibitor. Because it is non-selective, plasma exchange has the potential to remove deleterious mediators and restore anti-inflammatory/anticoagulant factors consumed in sepsis/MODS. There is evidence that some of the implicated mediators of sepsis can be effectively removed by plasma exchange, eg, TNF alpha and endotoxin. In addition, the normal regulatory molecules consumed during the systemic inflammatory process, such as AT, proteins C and S, and ADAMTS-13 would be replaced, which may influence the pathophysiology of MODS/sepsis. However, the mechanism of action of plasma exchange, whether removal of inflammatory mediators of sepsis or modulation of the later consequences of MODS such as sustained endothelial activation, remains unclear at the present time. Other apheresis based strategies also have been attempted but their results also require confirmation by well-designed clinical trials to answer the question of their value in treatment of sepsis.
Development of apheresis strategies which address the pathophysiology of sepsis and identify responsive patient populations would have a great societal value

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC

Feasibility: the large number of patients who develop sepsis provides for significant number of potential patients who can be enrolled. More sophisticated methods of enrollment may help as many patients are not capable of providing informed consent. Establishing an apheresis consortium and collaboration with intensive care physicians will be an important step in assuring appropriate accrual of patients. The availability of apheresis devices is likely to be high in the tertiary/quaternary care medical centers where these studies can be performed. Animal models of sepsis are being investigated and are necessary for studies evaluating pathophysiology; though some apheresis strategies can be moved to clinical studies without additional preclinical developments.

Challenges: Identification of the patient population which responds optimally to apheresis based strategies is critical to the development of a randomized clinical trial. One study has indicated that it would be the critically ill pediatric population; however, the critically ill adult population is the largest affected group). Given the equipoise of using apheresis based strategies in the treatment of sepsis/MODS, finding patients to randomize is unlikely to be difficult. Other potential challenges include the cost of developing randomized clinical trials using apheresis, competition with other pharmacology based strategies, center bias, and the timing for initiation of the apheresis.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea Zbigniew M. Szczepiorkowski; Joseph Kiss, Ed Wong on behalf of ASFA

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97 net votes
115 up votes
18 down votes
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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... more »

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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112 net votes
131 up votes
19 down votes
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Goal 4: Develop Workforce and Resources

DEVELOPMENT AND SUPPORT FOR APHERESIS MEDICINE INVESTIGATORS

The apheresis medicine encompasses treatment of numerous diseases many of which are directly related to blood, lung and heart. However, there are very limited opportunities for training young investigators in basic and translational research related to Apheresis Medicine. There is a need to promote Apheresis Medicine as a viable field of research for junior and established investigators. The influx of well-trained junior... more »

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC

Therapeutic apheresis is the process of transiently removing whole blood from the body, separating it into various components (e.g., cells, plasma, proteins, antibodies, antigen-antibody complexes, lipids, etc.), removing those components that contribute to disease, and then returning the remaining blood with possible addition of a blood component to the body.

Hundreds of thousands of apheresis procedures are being performed every year in the US. Many of these procedures are life-savings while others are likely to be of limited benefit to patients and healthcare system at large. There is lack of good understanding pertaining to basic mechanisms of apheresis and optimal ways of applying apheresis to the improvement of underlying conditions as well as to the ability of apheresis to enhance other treatment modalities. This in turn is caused by significant shortage of well-educated and trained physician scientists willing to address basic science and translational-clinical questions related to applications of apheresis in clinical practice.

Currently there are no specific mechanisms for training such individuals. Utilization of and integration with existing educational/training programs, such as T32 grants, K23/K24/K25 grants, institutional K12 awards and CTSA educational programs would likely result in the cadre of junior investigators who can tackle questions related to basic mechanisms as well as clinical approaches to treating diseases using apheresis strategies.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC

Feasibility: Incorporation of apheresis medicine training into currently available resources is likely to be highly feasible. This training can be provided across many medical specialties including hematology, transfusion medicine, cardiology, pulmonology and others. Inclusion of basic scientists involved in research of blood disorders, lung and heart disorders, as well as immunology will expand the outreach. Identification of individuals interested in pursuing research in apheresis medicine might be accomplished on different levels of training starting with medical school, internship, residency and fellowship as well as early years of medical career in a variety of medical specialties.

Challenges: The primary challenge is related to perception. Apheresis has an undeserved reputation as an "old" science; one that in recent years has been overtaken at times by newer medical treatments. Yet it still is the only and often life-saving treatment for certain conditions. Apheresis remains the go-to procedure for treating many common and rare maladies alike, such as TTP, and new treatment indications are being added. Although many specialists like hematologists, neurologists, nephrologists see the evidence and benefits of therapeutic apheresis in their everyday work, the progress of Apheresis Medicine as a medical specialty has been generally slow. The other major challenge is lack of funding of basic research and translational research related to Apheresis Medicine.

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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108 net votes
127 up votes
19 down votes
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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

The Use of Therapeutic Apheresis to Reduce Circulating Levels of Galectin-3 and other Cancer and Inflammation Promoting Factors

Inflammation plays roles in cancer initiation, promotion, and progression. Elevated circulating galectin-3 (Gal-3) protein and other cancer and inflammation promoting factors (CIPFs) such as C-reactive protein and VEGF are associated with tumorigenesis and may play causative roles. Plasma Gal-3 is a biomarker, prognosticator, and pathogenic mediator of diverse cancers and is emerging as a therapeutic target. Preliminary... more »

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

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC

Apheresis therapy in a clinical setting, both alone and in combination with conventional protocols, shows great potential to enhance treatment regimens, reduce dosage and side effects, improve drug deliver to target tissues, reduce long term treatment related morbidity and improve outcomes with significant benefits for patients with a broad range of cancer types and stages.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC

The need for well designed, randomized clinical trials would be readily feasible with the appropriate IND. Grant support will be needed for further development of this concept, as well as to develop columns with more optimized and specific capabilities, in addition to clinical trials demonstrating efficacy.

Apheresis is highly underutilized and underfunded in the US, while Apheresis research and development is much more advanced and widely utilized in Europe and Asia.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea Isaac Eliaz, MD

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33 net votes
40 up votes
7 down votes
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