Author Interviews, Kidney Disease, Lancet, Weight Research / 21.08.2015

Dr. Csaba P. Kovesdy MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Csaba P. Kovesdy, MD Professor of Medicine University of Tennessee Health Science Center Chief of Nephrology Memphis Veterans Affairs Medical Center Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Kovesdy: Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in modern societies, and has been linked to adverse outcomes such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and mortality. In addition, obesity is also associated with chronic kidney disease through a variety of mechanisms. Our population is ageing, and previous studies have suggested that the effect of obesity on certain outcomes like mortality may be different in older vs. younger individuals, but this has not been previously examined for chronic kidney disease. We have this examined the association of granular BMI categories with progressive loss of kidney function in a very large cohort of patients with normal estimated GFR in patients of different ages. We found that the association of a BMI of >30 kg/m2 with progressive loss of kidney function was not present in younger individuals (< 40 years of age), and increased as people aged, with >80 years old displaying the strongest associations between obesity and loss of kidney function. In addition to this we also examined the association of BMI with mortality in different age groups, and found uniform U-shaped associations that did not vary by age.
Author Interviews, Lancet, Stroke / 20.08.2015

Professor Mika Kivimäki Chair of Social Epidemiology Epidemiology & Public Health Institute of Epidemiology & Health Faculty of Population Health Sciences University College London London MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor Mika Kivimäki Chair of Social Epidemiology Epidemiology & Public Health Institute of Epidemiology & Health Faculty of Population Health Sciences University College London Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Prof Kivimäki:  Long working hours have been implicated in the cause of cardiovascular disease, but the evidence is limited. We conducted a systematic review of published studies on this topic and located additional individual-level data by searching open-access data archives and by including unpublished data from IPD-Work, a consortium of prospective cohort studies. This resulted in a pooled sample of over 600,000 men and women who were followed for cardiovascular disease 7-8 years after the assessment of working hours. During the follow-up, more than 4700 participants had a coronary event and 1700 had a stroke. Our findings show that individuals who worked 55 hours or more per week had a 1.3-times higher risk of stroke compared to those working standard 35-40 hours. This finding remained unchanged in analyses adjusted for other stroke risk factors, such as age, sex, socioeconomic position and health behaviours.
Author Interviews, Chemotherapy, Lancet / 17.08.2015

Bernardo L. Rapoport M. D. The Medical Oncology Centre of Rosebank Johannesburg, South AfricaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Bernardo L. Rapoport M. D. The Medical Oncology Centre of Rosebank Johannesburg, South Africa Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Rapoport: Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) is one of the most feared side effects of chemotherapy, and can lead to dose reductions or discontinuations of life-extending anti-cancer therapy. In the past, the serotonin (5-HT3) receptor antagonists, such as granisetron, palonosetron , and ondansetron, have shown effectiveness in preventing acute CINV (0-24 hours after chemotherapy administration), but many chemotherapies, such as cisplatin, carboplatin, and anthracycline/cyclophosphamide combinations, can cause delayed chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting that occurs from >24 hours to 5 days or more after chemotherapy. Neurokinin-1 receptor antagonists (NK-1 RAs) work though the substance P signaling pathway and are effective at preventing the delayed phase of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Aprepitant was the first NK-1 RA to come to market in 2003, followed by a fixed dose of netupitant plus palonosetron late last year.
Author Interviews, Lancet, Pain Research, Surgical Research / 14.08.2015

Dr Martin Hirsch  Clinical Research Fellow Women’s Health Research Unit Queen Mary University of LondoMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Martin Hirsch Clinical Research Fellow Women’s Health Research Unit Queen Mary University of London and Dr Jenny Hole Foundation Year 1 Doctor Kettering University Hospital Dr Jenny Hole Foundation Year 1 Doctor Kettering University Hospital   MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: As doctors we see medicines being prescribed on a daily basis and the benefit but also harm that they can cause. We wanted to assess the role of non pharmaceutical interventions which can benefit patients with a low or minimal potential for harm. We all have an interest in music of different genres and we agreed that we didn’t know anybody who did not like music of one sort or another. On the basis that we all have gained pleasure from music, we wanted to see if this pleasurable experience at the time of a difficult and painful stimulus could reduce the problems encountered as people recover from surgery. We searched all published medical literature and found 73 of the highest quality studies (randomised controlled trials) to compare and combine their findings in a meta-analysis. This technique aims to strengthen the validity by producing a combined result. We found that using music before during or after surgery reduced pain, reduced the requirement for pain killers, reduced anxiety, and improved satisfaction.
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Lancet / 12.08.2015

[caption id="attachment_16540" align="alignleft" width="238"]Prof. Der-Cherng Tarng, MD, PhD Division of Nephrology Taipei Veterans General Hospital, and National Yang-Ming University, Taiwan Prof. Der-Cherng Tarng[/caption] MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Der-Cherng Tarng, MD, PhD Division of Nephrology Taipei Veterans General Hospital, and National Yang-Ming University, Taiwan MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Prof. Tarng: Metformin is generally recommended as a first-line therapy for type 2 diabetes mellitus, but the use of metformin has been limited in patients with impaired kidney function because of the perceived risk of lactic acidosis. More recently, available evidence supports the cautious expansion of metformin use in patients with mild to moderate chronic kidney disease (CKD). However, no studies have yet examined whether metformin can be prescribed more widely to patients with advanced CKD. We conducted a propensity score-matched cohort study using Taiwan’s National Health Insurance Research Database to assess the safety of metformin in patients with type 2 diabetes and serum creatinine levels >6 mg/dL, enrolled between January 1, 2000 and June 30, 2009 and followed-up until December 31, 2009, before Taiwan’s prescribing guidelines for metformin contraindicated its use in patients with CKD. From a consecutive sample of 12350 patients, 1005 (8.1%) were metformin users. Of these, 813 were successfully matched 1:3 to 2439 metformin nonusers. After multivariate adjustment, metformin use remained was an independent risk factor for mortality (hazard ratio 1.35, 95% confidence interval 1.20–1.45; p<0.0001). The increased risk was dose-dependent and was consistent across all subgroup analyses. However, metformin users compared with non-users were associated with a higher but insignificant risk of metabolic acidosis (hazard ratio 1.30, 95% confidence interval 0.88–1.93; p=0.188).
Addiction, Author Interviews, HIV, Lancet / 10.08.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Keith Ahamad, a clinician scientist at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and a Family Doctor trained and certified in Addiction Medicine.  He is Division Lead for Addiction Medicine in the department of Family and Community Medicine at Providence Health Care, and is also an addiction physician at the St. Paul’s Addiction Medicine Consult Service, the Immunodeficiency Clinic and Vancouver Detox. He is also Lead Study Clinician for CHOICES, a US National Institutes of Drug Abuse (NIDA) funded clinical trial looking at an opioid receptor blocker (Vivitrol) to treat opioid or alcohol addiction in HIV positive patients.Dr. Keith Ahamad, a clinician scientist at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and a Family Doctor trained and certified in Addiction Medicine. He is Division Lead for Addiction Medicine in the department of Family and Community Medicine at Providence Health Care, and is also an addiction physician at the St. Paul’s Addiction Medicine Consult Service, the Immunodeficiency Clinic and Vancouver Detox. He is also Lead Study Clinician for CHOICES, a US National Institutes of Drug Abuse (NIDA) funded clinical trial looking at an opioid receptor blocker (Vivitrol) to treat opioid or alcohol addiction in HIV positive patients. MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? Dr. Ahamad: Previous methadone research has mostly been done in restrictive settings, such as the USA, where methadone can only be dispensed through restrictive methadone programs and cannot be prescribed through primary care physician’s offices. Since a systematic review in 2012, randomised controlled trials have compared methadone treatment provided at restrictive specialty clinics with primary care clinics, which have shown the benefits of primary care models of methadone delivery on heroin treatment outcomes, but not on HIV incidence. MedicalResearch: What are the main findings? Dr. Ahamad: After adjusting for factors commonly associated with HIV, methadone remained independently associated in protecting against HIV in this group of injection drug users. Those study participants who were not prescribed methadone at baseline were almost four times more likely to contract HIV during study follow up. MedicalResearch: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report? Dr. Ahamad: Methadone is an effective medication in treating opioid addiction. Through international randomized control trials, we already know that when prescribed though primary care offices, access to this life-saving medication is increased, effective, and increases patient satisfaction. Now, through our study, we have evidence that when delivered in this manner, it also decreases the spread of HIV.
Author Interviews, Lancet, Nutrition, OBGYNE / 10.08.2015

Prof-Kate-JollyMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Kate Jolly Professor of Public Health and Primary Care Public Health Building School of Health & Population Sciences University of Birmingham Edgbaston Birmingham Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: The UK is amongst 32 countries worldwide with evidence of iodine deficiency. Severe iodine deficiency during pregnancy is associated with a lower intelligence quotient (IQ) and developmental abnormalities in the children; these are reversible by iodine supplementation during pregnancy. However, the effects of mild or moderate iodine deficiency during pregnancy are less clear as there are no high quality trials of supplementation that have reported the outcome of child IQ. However, in two studies in the UK and Australia, nine year old children of women who had a urinary iodine concentration suggestive of mild iodine deficiency during their pregnancy exhibited reduced educational outcomes and decreased IQ scores compared to children of iodine replete mothers. Recent research from the UK suggests that the country has become mildly iodine deficient. Many countries address their iodine deficiency by programmes of adding iodine to salt and some recommend that pregnant women take iodine supplements. Neither of these occur in the UK, although some commonly used pregnancy supplements already include iodine. Controversy about the need for supplementation in pregnancy, the ethics of undertaking a trial in which women would be randomly allocated to have iodine supplements, or not, and the high cost of following-up and assessing large numbers of children makes a trial unlikely.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Lancet / 09.08.2015

Henning Kelbæk, MD Department of Cardiology Roskilde Hospital Roskilde, DenmarkMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Henning Kelbæk, MD Department of Cardiology Roskilde Hospital Roskilde, Denmark Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Kelbæk: The background to conduct the DANAMI 3-Primulti trial is the uncertainty of which strategy is most favourable to the patient with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction: to treat the culprit (resposible for the acute infarction) lesion only or to treat all visible lesions (complete revascularisation) The main findings of the PRIMULTI trial are that patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction and multivessel disease, benefit from supplementary complete revascularisation of lesions in non-infarct related arteries when the second procedure is done during the index admission guided by measurement of the fractional flow reserve. This strategy results in a significant reduction in the combination of all-cause mortality, nonfatal reinfarction, and ischaemia-driven revascularisation.
Author Interviews, Hand Washing, Infections, Lancet / 07.08.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Paul Little MBBS, BA, MD, DLSHTM, MRCP, FRCGP, FMedSci Professor of Primary Care Research University of Southampton

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Prof. Little: Hand washing has been recommended to help prevent respiratory infections (coughs, colds flu, sore throats) - this can be important in normal winters but might be especially important in pandemic flu years. However, there has been little evidence from randomised trials to date to show that handwashing works. [caption id="attachment_16369" align="alignleft" width="350"]A simple internet based intervention to support increasing handwashing behaviour reduced the numbers of infections caught and the number of infections given to family members, A simple internet based intervention to support increasing hand washing behavior reduced the numbers of infections caught and the number of infections given to family members,[/caption]
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, End of Life Care, Lancet, Leukemia / 01.08.2015

Prof David C Currow Discipline of Palliative and Supportive Services Flinders University Adelaide, SA, AustraliaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof David C Currow Discipline of Palliative and Supportive Services Flinders University Adelaide, SA, Australia Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Prof. Currow: This study grew out of a desire to better understand the symptom burden experienced by people with hematological malignancies at the end of life. This has been very poorly documented and although there are lots of strong opinions, there are very few data at a population level. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Prof. Currow: The main finding is that community-dwelling people with hematological malignancies at the end of life have a burden of symptoms that looked almost identical to people with solid tumours. Given much lower rates of access to the hospice and palliative care, this suggests that these people and their family caregivers are missing out on opportunities for better symptom control and better support.
Author Interviews, Lancet, Melanoma, Radiation Therapy / 23.07.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael A Henderson MBBS BMedSc MD FRACS Professor of Surgery, University of Melbourne Deputy Director Division of Cancer Surgery Head Skin and Melanoma Service Division of Cancer Surgery Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre East Melbourne Victoria  Australia Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Henderson:  A number of retrospective reviews of adjuvant radiotherapy after lymphadenectomy for patients at high risk of further lymph node field relapse had all suggested that the risk of lymph node field relapse was reduced but there was controversy about whether there was any impact on survival. In addition many clinicians were concerned about the side effects of radiotherapy and in the absence of a proven survival benefit were reluctant to recommend it. Previously a phase 2 trial of adjuvant radiotherapy conducted by one of our co-authors Prof Bryan Burmiester confirmed that the morbidity of lymph node field radiotherapy was limited and the risks of recurrence was reduced. On that basis the current ANZMTG TROG randomised multicentre trial was initiated. In summary this final report updates information on overall survival, lymph node field relapse etc and provides information for the first time on long term toxicity of treatment, quality of life and lymphedema. Adjuvant lymph node field radiotherapy for patients at high risk of further lymph node field relapse reduces the risk of further lymph node field relapse by 50% but it has no effect on survival. Although radiotherapy toxicity was common (3 in 4 patients), mostly involving skin and subcutaneous tissue it was mild-to-moderate in severity and had little impact upon the patient's quality of life as measured by the FACT-G quality of life tool. Specific regional symptoms were more common in the radiated group. Limb volume measurements confirmed a significant but modest increase for patients receiving inguinal radiation (15%) but not for axillary radiation. In the design of this trial, a decision was made to allow patients in the observation arm who developed an isolated lymph node field relapse to be salvaged by surgery and or radiotherapy. There were only two patients in the radiotherapy arm who developed an isolated lymph node field relapse and both died of metastatic disease. In the observation arm 26 patients developed an isolated lymph node field relapse and the majority (23) achieved lymph node field control with a combination of surgery and or radiotherapy. The five-year survival FROM development of a lymph node field relapse in this group was 34% which is comparable to the overall survival of the entire cohort (42% five-year overall survival). This information whilst a subset analysis suggests that if it would be reasonable in some patients to consider a policy of observation only, reserving further surgery and or radiotherapy for a second relapse.
Author Interviews, Lancet, Lymphoma / 17.07.2015

MedicalRDr Yeow Tee Goh Department of Haematology Singapore General Hospital Republic of Singaporeesearch.com Interview with: Dr Yeow Tee Goh MBBS Department of Haematology Singapore General Hospital Republic of Singapore Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Goh: Relapsed or refractory peripheral T-cell lymphoma after conventional chemotherapy is associated with a very poor prognosis and there is currently no recommendation on the standard approach to helping these patients. Novel targeted treatments for relapsed or refractory peripheral T-cell lymphoma such as romidepsin, pralatrexate, belinostat, and brentuximab vedotin has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) based on the results of their Phase II studies. With the exception of the remarkable efficacy of brentuximab vedotin in systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma (86% of patients responding to treatment), the efficacy of romidepsin, pralatrexate, and belinostat in relapsed or refractory peripheral T-cell lymphoma is only modest with objective response rates between 25% and 29%. To our knowledge, no other clinical study has reported on the use of novel combination of targeted agents in in relapsed or refractory peripheral T-cell lymphoma. In our study, Of 23 patients assessable for responses, 10 (43%, 95% CI 23–63) patients had an objective response, of which 5 were complete responses. The combined proteasome and histone deacetylase inhibitor treatment shows promising activity for patients with peripheral T-cell lymphoma.
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Endocrinology, Lancet, Menopause / 08.07.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Jürg Bernhard Ph.D. International Breast Cancer Study Group Coordinating Center and Bern University Hospital, Inselspital, Bern, Switzerland Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In the combined analysis of the SOFT and TEXT trials, the aromatase inhibitor exemestane was more effective than tamoxifen in preventing breast cancer recurrence in young women (premenopausal) who also receive ovarian function suppression (OFS) as adjuvant (post-surgery) treatment for hormone-sensitive early breast cancer, providing a new treatment option for these women. These trials were conducted by the International Breast Cancer Study Group (IBCSG) and involved more than 4700 patients of over 500 centers in 27 countries. Now we present patient-reported quality of life outcomes from these trials. In the TEXT and SOFT trials, patients assigned exemestane+OFS reported more detrimental effects of bone or joint pain, vaginal dryness, greater loss of sexual interest and difficulties becoming aroused, while patients assigned tamoxifen+OFS were more affected by hot flushes and sweats. Global quality of life domains (mood, ability to cope and physical well-being) were similar between the randomized treatment groups.
Author Interviews, Ebola, Lancet / 02.07.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jana Broadhurst, MD, PhD Stanford University Nira R Pollock MD PhD Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: At present, diagnosis of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in west Africa requires transport of venipuncture blood to field laboratories for testing by real-time RT-PCR, resulting in delays that complicate patient care and infection control efforts. Therefore, an urgent need exists for a point-of-care rapid diagnostic test (RDT) for this disease. In this study, we performed a field validation of the Corgenix ReEBOV Antigen Rapid Test kit, the only Ebola RDT authorized for emergency use by the WHO and FDA. This test is a dipstick lateral flow immunoassay designed to detect the Ebola virus VP40 protein in whole blood (collected by either fingerstick or whole blood) or plasma. We performed the rapid diagnostic test at the point-of-care on fingerstick blood samples from 106 individuals with suspected EVD presenting at two Ebola clinical centers in Sierra Leone. Separately, we performed the RDT on 284 venous whole blood samples submitted to the Public Health England field reference laboratory for clinical testing. Two readers independently scored each RDT as positive, negative, or invalid, with any disagreements resolved by a third. RDT results were compared with clinical real-time RT-PCR results obtained with the RealStar Filovirus RT-PCR kit 1.0 (altona Diagnostics GmBH). In point-of-care testing of fingerstick blood, the RDT had 100% sensitivity (95% CI 87.7-100) and 92% specificity (95% CI 83.8-97.1). Similarly, in venipuncture blood tested in the reference laboratory the rapid diagnostic test had 100% sensitivity (95% CI 92.1-100) and 92% specificity (95% CI 88.0-95.3). The two independent readers agreed for 95.2% of point-of-care and 98.6% of reference laboratory RDT results. The maximum cycle threshold (Ct) value was 26.3 in PCR-positive samples tested from both point-of-care (mean Ct 22.6) and reference laboratory (mean Ct 21.5) cohorts. Six of 16 banked plasma samples from RDT-positive and altona-negative patients were positive by an alternative real-time RT-PCR assay (the Trombley assay); 3 of 18 samples from individuals who were negative by both the RDT and altona test were also positive by Trombley.
Author Interviews, Lancet, Leukemia, Lymphoma, Occupational Health / 01.07.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Klervi Leuraud, Epidemiologist Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety Cedex, France MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Leuraud: INWORKS was performed to quantify the risk of cancer mortality associated to protracted low doses of ionizing radiation typical of occupational or environmental exposures, as well as of diagnostic medical exposures. While such risks are well known for acute exposures as those experienced by the Japanese survivors of the A-bombs, there is still a lack of information for exposures experienced by the workers and the public. Our study confirms the existence of an association between leukemia mortality and chronic exposure to low doses received by nuclear workers.
Author Interviews, Lancet / 19.06.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Stephan Glund Ph.D. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co. KG Transl. Medicine & Clin. Pharmacology Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Glund: There are currently no specific reversal agents available for any of the non-Vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOACs). We are working on the development of idarucizumab, a specific reversal agent to dabigatran, the first approved NOAC. The study now published in The Lancet investigated, for the first time in healthy volunteers, the reversal of the anticoagulant effect of dabigatran by idarucizumab. Our study in healthy male volunteers showed that idarucizumab led to immediate, complete and sustained reversal of the anticoagulant effect of dabigatran. Participants first received dabigatran and then idarucizumab. The specific reversal agent was given two hours after the last dose of dabigatran, when dabigatran concentrations were at peak levels. After a five-minute infusion of idarucizumab, anticoagulation was immediately reversed back to baseline levels. The reversal effect was sustained for more than 24 hours for all doses of 2g and above. Idarucizumab was well tolerated by the study participants. In addition, our study also showed that administration of idarucizumab reversed dabigatran-induced inhibition of wound-site fibrin formation, which plays a key role in the blood clotting mechanism. This suggests that idarucizumab might also reverse impaired haemostasis due to dabigatran anticoagulation at a wound site.
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Columbia, Lancet / 18.06.2015

Deborah S. Hasin, Ph.D. Professor of Epidemiology Columbia University New York, New York 10032MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Deborah S. Hasin, Ph.D. Professor of Epidemiology Columbia University New York, New York 10032 MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Hasin: The background for the study was the need to identify the causes of the marked increase in marijuana use among U.S. adolescents over the last several years, given that early adolescent marijuana use leads to a number of adverse health and psychosocial consequences, including cognitive decline, into adulthood. We had two main findings from the study:
  1. A comparison of the rates of adolescent marijuana use between states that ever passed a medical marijuana law and those that did not revealed that states with such laws had higher rates of teen marijuana use, regardless of when they passed the law; and
  2. When we compared the rates of teen marijuana use in these states before and after passage of the laws, we did not find a post-passage increase in the rates of teen marijuana use. This suggests that some common factor may be causing both the laws to be passed and the teens to be more likely to smoke marijuana in the states that passed these laws.
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Lancet, McGill / 13.06.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Ahmad Haidar Ph.D. Division of Experimental Medicine Department of Medicine, McGill University Montreal, QC, CanadaDr. Ahmad Haidar Ph.D Division of Experimental Medicine, Department of Medicine McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Haidar: This is the first head-to-head-to-head comparison in outpatient setting of dual-hormone artificial pancreas, single-hormone artificial pancreas, and conventional pump therapy in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes. The main finding is that the dual-hormone artificial pancreas seems to outperform the other two systems in reducing nocturnal hypoglycemia in camp settings when the patients are very physically active during the day. Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report? Dr. Haidar: Glucagon has the potential to reduce nocturnal hypoglycemia if added to the artificial pancreas. However, this needs to be confirmed in larger and longer studies as the single-hormone artificial pancreas might be sufficient in home settings (this study was conducted at a camp, which is an environment different that home).
Author Interviews, Lancet, Ovarian Cancer, Surgical Research / 22.05.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mr Matthew Nankivell MRC Clinical Trials Unit at University College London Institute of Clinical Trials and Methodology Aviation House, London UK Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Ovarian cancer is diagnosed in over 7000 women each year in the UK. Over 75% of these already have advanced disease, for which the standard treatment is surgery followed by platinum based chemotherapy. The prognosis for these patients remains poor however, with less than 25% surviving for 5 years. There is consistent evidence that achieving optimal debulking (meaning less than 1cm of residual tumour after surgery) is key to increasing survival. The theory tested in Chorus is that giving the chemotherapy before surgery (neo-adjuvantly) would be as least as effective as giving it post-operatively, and may in fact increase the chance of achieving optimal debulking, and subsequently living for longer. In Chorus we randomised 552 women to receiving either the current standard of immediate surgery followed by chemotherapy, or chemotherapy followed by surgery. The trial met its primary aim of showing that neo-adjuvant chemotherapy was no worse than post-operative chemotherapy, with median survival times of 24.1 and 22.6 months respectively. The proportion of women achieving optimal debulking increased from 41% in the post-operative chemotherapy group to 73% in the neo-adjuvant chemotherapy group. Additionally we saw that fewer women experienced serious post-operative complications having had neo-adjuvant chemotherapy (14% vs 24%), and fewer women died within 28 days of surgery (<1% vs 6%). There is a planned meta-analysis, to combine the data from Chorus with those from a similar European trial, which will allow further investigations to take place, and may allow the identification of groups of women who are more likely to benefit from one or other of the approaches.
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Lancet, Pediatrics / 29.04.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Stephen F. Kingsmore MB ChB BAO DSc FRCPath Dee Lyons/Missouri Endowed Chair in Genomic Medicine, Children’s Mercy - Kansas CityMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Stephen F. Kingsmore MB ChB BAO DSc FRCPath Dee Lyons/Missouri Endowed Chair in Genomic Medicine, Children’s Mercy - Kansas City Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: The background to this study is that genetic diseases are the leading cause of death in infants and, especially, in infants in neonatal intensive care units. Making a molecular (etiologic) diagnosis of the specific genetic disease is critical for optimal care and decision making for acutely ill infants who are likely to have such diseases. However there are over 5000 known genetic diseases and their presentations overlap considerably in infants. Until now it has not been possible to make timely diagnoses in these infants. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Response: Rapid whole genome sequencing is a new way of making a genetic disease diagnosis in acutely ill newborns in neonatal intensive care units. It appears to be effective for diagnosis.
Author Interviews, CDC, Infections, Lancet, Vaccine Studies / 25.04.2015

Mary J Hamel, M.D. Chief, Strategic and Applied Sciences Unit, And Deputy Branch Chief for Science, CDC Malaria Branch US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 1600 Clifton Rd, NE, MS A06 Atlanta GA 30333MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mary J Hamel, M.D. Chief, Strategic and Applied Sciences Unit, And Deputy Branch Chief for Science, CDC Malaria Branch US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 1600 Clifton Rd, NE, MS A06 Atlanta GA 30333 Dr. Hamel was principal investigator at the Siaya site in western Kenya. Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Hamel: Major progress has been made in malaria control during the past decade with the scale up of proven interventions including insecticide treated nets (ITNs), indoor residual spraying, effective diagnosis and treatment for malaria, and intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy. Nonetheless, malaria remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality, and a leading cause of pediatric death worldwide. An estimated 198 million cases of malaria and 580,000 deaths occurred in 2013 – most of these in African children. Now we face additional challenges in malaria control – the emergence of insecticide and drug resistance threatens some of our most effective interventions. New tools are needed to reach the goal of malaria elimination and eventual eradication. Vaccines are some of our most cost-effective interventions, and an effective malaria vaccine would be an important addition to our current malaria control tools. This week, the RTS,S Clinical Trials Partnership published the final vaccine efficacy and safety results from the RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine phase 3 trial in the Lancet (Efficacy and safety of RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine with or without a booster dose in infants and children in Africa: final results of a phase 3, individually randomised, controlled trial, http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(15)60721-8/abstract). This large randomized controlled double-blind phase 3 clinical trial was conducted in 11 sites in 7 African countries across a range of malaria transmission levels. In all, 15,460 children and young infants were enrolled in two age-categories, those first vaccinated at 5-17 months of age (referred to as children), and those first vaccinated at 6-12 weeks of age (referred to as young infants) who received the RTS,S/AS01 vaccine along with their routine childhood immunizations. Participants were randomized into 3 groups – the first group received three doses of the RTS,S/AS01 vaccine followed 18 months later by a booster dose; the second group received three doses of the RTS,S/AS01 vaccine without a booster; and the third group received a comparator vaccine. All participants received an ITN. Children were followed for an average of 48 months and infants for an average of 38 months. We found that vaccine efficacy was modest. Vaccine efficacy against clinical malaria in children was 36% with a booster and 28% without, and vaccine efficacy against severe malaria was 32% with a booster and non-significant without.   Efficacy results in young infants were lower than those in children– vaccine efficacy against clinical malaria was 36% with a booster and 28% without, and vaccine efficacy against severe malaria was non-significant. However, impact, defined as the number of cases averted per 1000 participants vaccinated, was substantial in both age-categories, and highest where malaria burden was greatest. In children who received the booster, during 4 years follow-up, 1700 cases of clinical malaria were averted per 1000 children vaccinated. In young infants, during 3 years follow-up, nearly 1000 cases were averted per 1000 young infants vaccinated. The safety findings were comparable overall in the different study arms, but two safety findings are notable. Meningitis occurred more frequently among children (but not young infants) who received RTS,S/AS01 than among those who received the comparator vaccines. There was no relationship between when the vaccine was administered and when meningitis occurred, most cases occurred in only two study sites, and the finding may be due to chance. If RTS,S/AS01 is licensed, post-licensing studies will be done to establish the significance of this finding. Both children and young infants experienced more episodes of fever and associated febrile convulsions during the 7 days following vaccination; convulsions occurred in 2.2 - 2.5/1000 vaccine doses.
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Lancet, Lymphoma, NIH / 06.04.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Mark Roschewski, MD and Dr Wyndham H Wilson MD-PhD Lymphoma Therapeutics Section Lymphoid Malignancies Branch, Center for Cancer Research National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health Bethesda, MD 20892 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Monitoring patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) has relied on computed tomography (CT) scans which are imprecise, expensive and include radiation. We investigated the ability of a blood-based assay to monitor patients with DLBCL during and after their initial therapy. The assay we studied amplifies and quantifies small amounts of circulating tumor DNA from the patient’s blood. We showed that this assay effectively predicts which patients will relapse and identifies recurrence 3.5 months before CT scans.
Author Interviews, FDA, Flu - Influenza, Geriatrics, Lancet, Vaccine Studies / 03.04.2015

Dr Richard Forshee PhD Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, MD MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Richard Forshee PhD Associate Director for Research in the Office of Biostatistics and Epidemiology Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research U.S. Food and Drug Administration Silver Spring, MD On behalf of the study authors Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Forshee: Influenza continues to be a major public health concern causing illness, hospitalization, and death. The elderly are at highest risk for seasonal influenza complications, including hospitalization and death. As people grow older their ability to raise a strong protective immune response can weaken.  The availability of a vaccine that uses a higher dose to induce a stronger immune response could reduce the serious impact of influenza in this age group.  The purpose of this study was to determine whether a high-dose inactivated influenza vaccine was more effective for prevention of probable influenza infections and influenza-related hospital admissions, compared to standard-dose inactivated influenza recipients. In December 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) licensed Fluzone High Dose, an injectable inactivated trivalent seasonal influenza vaccine for people ages 65 years and older. This high-dose vaccine contains four times more hemagglutinin—the active ingredient in influenza vaccines that cause the human body to produce antibodies against the influenza viruses—than the standard-dose vaccine. The FDA approved the high-dose vaccine using the accelerated approval regulatory pathway, which allows the agency to approve products for serious or life-threatening diseases based on reasonable evidence of a product’s effectiveness.  This pathway reduces the time it takes for needed medical products to become available to the public.  Studies conducted prior to licensure showed an enhanced immune response to the high-dose vaccine compared with the standard-dose vaccine in individuals 65 years of age and older indicating that the high-dose vaccine was reasonably likely to be more effective in preventing influenza disease. As part of the accelerated approval process, the manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur, was required to conduct a randomized clinical study post-licensure to confirm that the high-dose vaccine decreased seasonal influenza disease after vaccination relative to standard dose vaccine. This confirmatory study demonstrated that the high–dose vaccine prevented 24% more cases of laboratory-confirmed influenza illness compared to standard-dose vaccines in people 65 years of age and older. However, the study was not large enough to determine efficacy of the vaccine against severe disease. A team of scientists from FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and Acumen LLC ( an independent research organization) studied the relative effectiveness of the high-dose influenza vaccine in the U.S. population ages 65 years and older.  The observational study, which covered the 2012-2013 influenza season, found a significant reduction both in influenza-associated illness and in influenza-related hospitalizations among individuals who received the high-dose vaccine, compared to those receiving the standard dose. Additional background about this study: “Comparative effectiveness of high-dose versus standard-dose influenza vaccines in US residents aged 65 years and older from 2012 to 2013 using Medicare data: a retrospective cohort analysis” is available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(14)71087-4 A commentary on the study titled “Novel observational study designs with new influenza vaccines” is available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(15)70020-4
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Chemotherapy, Lancet / 31.03.2015

Prof Xi-Chun Hu, Department of Oncology Shanghai Medical College Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, ChinaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof Xi-Chun Hu, Department of Oncology Shanghai Medical College Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, China MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Prof. Hu: Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is associated with higher rates of recurrence, shorter disease free survival, and poorer overall survival. Molecular targeting agents tried against Triple-negative breast cancer have nearly all failed. TNBC, concordant with BRCA-associated and basal-like breast cancer, has abnormal DNA repair and genome-wide instability, supporting the use of DNA-damaging agents such as platinum. However, platinum monotherapy is not very potent, combination with other agents, such as gemcitabine has a synergistic effect. The GP regimen could be an alternative or even preferential first-line doublet chemotherapy strategy for patients with mTNBC.
Infections, Lancet, Pediatrics / 30.03.2015

[caption id="attachment_13089" align="alignleft" width="125"]Tuberculosis creates cavities visible in x-rays like this one in the patient's right upper lobe. Wikipedia Tuberculosis creates cavities visible in x-rays like this one in the patient's right upper lobe Wikipedia[/caption] MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Anne K Detjen, MD Child Lung Health Consultant International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Detjen: The bacteriological diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB) in children is challenging due to the difficulty in obtaining specimens such as sputum and the lack of an accurate and accessible diagnostic test. In most cases, diagnosis is made on clinical grounds based on a contact history and a combination of signs and symptoms. We included 15 studies in a systematic review and meta-analysis of Xpert for the diagnosis of pulmonary TB in children. The accuracy of Xpert for diagnosing TB in children is suboptimal, and the majority of children will still have to be diagnosed clinically. However, in settings where it replaces smear microscopy Xpert will increase the likelihood of bacteriological confirmation of TB as well as MDR TB among children. Xpert does not increase the number of confirmed TB cases among culture-negative children. We also found that smear status highly impacted Xpert results, i.e. a higher yield among smear positive compared to smear negative children. Smear positivity increases with bacillary load and might be a proxy for disease severity. Unfortunately, we were not able to assess the performance among children with different stages of disease severity since this was not classified in any of the studies included.
Author Interviews, Kidney Disease, Lancet / 20.03.2015

Prof Vlado Perkovic MBBS PhD FASN FRACP George Institute for Global Health University of Sydney Sydney AustraliaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof Vlado Perkovic MBBS PhD FASN FRACP George Institute for Global Health University of Sydney Sydney Australia   Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Prof. Perkovic: There has been much discussion about the large number of people with kidney disease around the world- more than 10% of the population in most countries- but the current number of people with kidney failure had not been clearly defined. We therefore systematically collected information on the number of people with kidney failure around the world and found that 2.6 million people were receiving treatment for kidney failure in 2010, almost 80% of whom were undergoing dialysis while the others had received a kidney transplant. We then noticed very large differences in the number of people receiving treatment in different regions and countries, so used mathematical modeling to calculate the number of people who should be receiving treatment for kidney failure. The results of this analysis suggested there should be between 5 and 10 million people receiving treatment for kidney failure, suggesting that between half and three-quarters of people with kidney failure around the world died without access to dialysis, as a result of the high cost of dialysis treatment that is not affordable for many people around the world. These people are doomed to die of kidney failure, a condition for which we have had an effective treatment for over 50 years.
Author Interviews, Lancet, Mental Health Research / 19.03.2015

Dr. Angela WoodsMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Angela Woods Associate Editor, BMJ Medical Humanities Journal Senior Lecturer in Medical Humanities Deputy Director, Centre for Medical Humanities Durham University   Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Woods: We’ve known for a long time that hearing voices, or auditory hallucinations, is reported by people with a wide range of psychiatric diagnoses as well as by those who have no diagnosis. 5–15 per cent of adults will hear voices at some point during their lives – in circumstances that may be related to spiritual experiences, bereavement, trauma, sensory deprivation or impairment, as well as mental and emotional distress. However, what we know about voices clinically and empirically comes from a small handful of studies, typically conducted in mental health settings with patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia using quantitative scales and measures. Our study asked people to describe, in their own words, what it is like to hear voices. We designed an open-ended online questionnaire which was completed by 153 people with a range of diagnoses, including 26 who had never had a psychiatric diagnosis. Our study found that a large majority of participants described hearing multiple voices (81%) with characterful qualities (70%). While fear, anxiety, depression and stress were often associated with voices, 31% of participants reported positive and 32% neutral emotions. To our surprise less than half the participants reported hearing literally auditory voices; 45% reported either thought-like or mixed experiences. Perhaps the most startling finding concerned the physicality of voices. Bodily sensations while hearing voices were reported by 66% of participants – these included feelings of tingling, numbness, burning, pressure, and a sense of being distanced or disconnected from the body.
Author Interviews, Cleveland Clinic, Heart Disease, Lancet, Surgical Research / 15.03.2015

Prof Samir R Kapadia MD Director, Sones Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories Cleveland Clinic Cleveland, OH For patients with severe symptomatic aortic stenosis (AS) who are not candidates for surgical valve replacement, transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) offers superior benefit to standard therapy, as measured by all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, repeat hospital admission and functional status. PARTNER 1B 5 year data were published simultaneously with PARTNER 1A 5 year data in 2 separate manuscripts in the Lancet (March 15 2105). In this landmark trial, TAVR produced a 22 percent survival benefit and a 28 percent reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality, compared with standard treatment. According to Cleveland Clinic interventional cardiologist Samir Kapadia, MD, lead author of PARTNER 1B, these findings have changed the treatment paradigm for severe Aortic Stenosis patients who can’t undergo surgical Aortic Valve Replacement. “This trial is the first—and will probably be the only—randomized AS trial that includes a standard treatment group, since these results will make it unethical to treat severe AS patients with medical therapy alone without aortic valve replacement. ” he says. Superior survival benefit with TAVR PARTNER 1B is the only rigorous randomized trial of extreme-risk aortic stenosis patients that has prospectively reported the outcomes of TAVR versus standard treatment in patients for whom the estimated probability of death or serious irreversible morbidity after surgical aortic valve replacement was 50 percent or greater. The trial enrolled 358 patients between May 11, 2007 and March 16, 2009; 179 patients were assigned to TAVR with the first-generation Sapien valve and 179 to standard therapy which includes medical therapy and balloon aortic valvuloplasty. TAVR was performed under general anesthesia with common femoral artery access. Guidance was provided by transesophagel echocardiography and fluoroscopy. The mean age of participants was 83. The primary endpoint was all-cause survival. Secondary endpoints included cardiovascular mortality, stroke, vascular complications, major bleeding and functional status.
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Karolinski Institute, Lancet / 13.03.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Miia Kivipelto MD, PhD, Professor Deputy Head, Senior Geriatrician Aging Research Center and Alzheimer Disease Research Center Karolinska Institutet Clinical Trials Unit, Memory Clinic Karolinska University Hospital Stockholm, Sweden Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Kivipelto: Epidemiological studies have linked several modifiable risk factors to cognitive impairment and dementia but evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCT) has been lacking showing the efficacy of the interventions. Because cognitive impairment, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are complex, multi-factorial disorders, multidomain interventions targeting several risk factors and disease mechanisms simultaneously could be needed for optimum preventive effect. The FINGER study is the first large, long-term RCT indicating that multi-domain intervention can improve and maintain cognitive functioning in at risk elderly people from the general population. We observed a significant intervention effects on the primary outcome (overall cognition), main secondary outcomes (executive functioning and processing speed) as well as on complex memory tasks and risk of cognitive decline. The multidomain lifestyle intervention was feasible and safe.
Author Interviews, HPV, Lancet, Vaccine Studies / 05.03.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marc Brisson Canada Research Chair in Mathematical Modeling and Health Economics of Infectious Disease Associate Professor, Université LavalMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marc Brisson Canada Research Chair in Mathematical Modeling and Health Economics of Infectious Disease Associate Professor, Université Laval Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Since 2007, 52 countries have implemented human papillomavirus vaccination (HPV) programmes. Two HPV vaccines are currently available worldwide: the bivalent vaccine, which targets HPV types 16 and 18, causing 70-80% of cervical cancer, and the quadrivalent vaccine, which also targets HPV types 6 and 11, associated with 85-95% of anogenital wart cases. Large international randomised controlled clinical trials have shown both vaccines to be safe, well tolerated and highly efficacious against vaccine-type persistent infections and precancerous cervical lesions.  Furthermore, both vaccines have shown some level of cross-protection against 3 HPV types (HPV 31, 33 and 45) not included in the vaccine and associated with a supplementary 10-15% of cervical cancers worldwide. Now that 7 years have elapsed since the implementation of the first HPV vaccination program, we verified whether the promising results from clinical trials are materialising at the population level. We conducted a meta-analysis to examine the population-level impact in countries that have introduced HPV vaccination programs. In countries with high female vaccination coverage (<50%), our main findings indicate:
  • sharp declines in HPV-related outcomes among females targeted for vaccination (e.g., HPV-16/18 infection and anogenital warts declined by more than 60% in females younger than 20 years), and
  • evidence of cross-protection with significant reductions in HPV-31/33/45 infection among females younger than 20 years
  • evidence of herd effects (indirect benefit of vaccination among unvaccinated individuals) with significant reductions in anogenital warts among males and older females.
In countries with low coverage (<50%), we report:
  • significant reductions in HPV-16/18 infection and anogenital warts among young females, with no indication of herd effects or cross-protection.