Organ Transplant Recipients Require Vigilant Sun Protection

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Sunscreen” by Tom Newby is licensed under CC BY 2.0Rebecca Ivy Hartman, M.D
Instructor in Dermatology
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Boston MA 02115

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Organ transplant recipients (OTR) are at 100-fold higher risk to develop certain skin cancers compared to the general population due to immunosuppression, and thus preventing skin cancer in this population is critical.

Our study found that in a high-risk Australian OTR population, only half of patients practiced multiple measures of sun protection regularly.

However, after participating in a research study that required dermatology visits, patients were over 4-times more likely to report using multiple measures of sun protection regularly. Patients were more likely to have a positive behavioral change if they did not already undergo annual skin cancer screening prior to study participation.

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Early Study Demonstrates Airways Can Be Transplanted from Aortic Templates

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Emmanuel Martinod MD PhD
Assistance Publique–Hôpitaux de Paris, Hôpitaux Universitaires Paris Seine-Saint-Denis, Hôpital Avicenne, Chirurgie Thoracique et Vasculaire, Université Paris 13, Sorbonne Paris Cité, UFR Santé, Médecine et Biologie Humaine, Bobigny,
Université Paris Descartes, Fondation Alain Carpentier, Laboratoire de Recherche Bio-chirurgicale, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, Hôpital Européen Georges Pompidou
Paris, France 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this exciting new technology and study? What are the main findings? 

Response: What is the background for this exciting new technology and study? What are the main findings?

Response:  The background is 10 years of research at laboratory followed by 10 years of academic clinical research.

We demonstrated the feasability of airway bioengeenring using stented aortic matrices for complex tracheal or bronchial reconstruction.  Continue reading

Pre-Emptive Therapy of CMV in Allogeneic Hematopoietic Cell Transplant

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

 Dr-Roy F. Chemaly

Dr. Chemaly

Roy F. Chemaly, MD, MPH F.A.C.P., F.I.D.S.A.
Department of Infectious Diseases
Infection Control and Employee Health
Division of Internal Medicine
MD Anderson Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: CytomegalovirusCMV infection is a common cause of morbidity and mortality in allo-HCT recipients. Evidence suggests that CMV infection has not only an enormous clinical burden, but a substantial economic burden as well.

We conducted this study at MD Anderson to determine the economic and clinical burden of preemptive therapy (PET) for CMV infection. Between 2012 and 2015, 100 consecutive patients hospitalized at our institution for allo-HCT who experienced reactivation of CMV and were treated pre-emptively, were enrolled.

The majority of patients were men (55%), who had underlying leukemia (73%), and underwent matched unrelated donor transplant (59%). At the time of hospitalization, most patients had acute GvHD (62%), and were on steroids (58%) within 30 days of CMV reactivation which occurred at a median of 32 days post-HCT (2 -174). A total of 192 episodes of PET occurred in the 100 allo-HCT recipients within 1 year post-HCT. PET consisted of ganciclovir (41%), foscarnet (40%), and valganciclovir (38%). IVIG was also used as adjunct therapy in 20% of episodes.

Progression to Cytomegalovirus disease occurred in 4 patients (4%) and mainly affected the GI tract. Mean length of stay for patients treated with ganciclovir or foscarnet was 32 days (2-141) and 41 days (1-177), respectively. The average direct cost per patient admitted for PET was $126,038 ($7,866-$641,841) and the mean cost of CMV antiviral drug per hospitalization was $6,096 for IVIG, $2,410 for foscarnet, $836 for ganciclovir, and $780 for valganciclovir.

Serious side effects from PET were observed in 35% of patients on ganciclovir and 12% of patients on foscarnet. Total direct cost per encounter was significantly higher in patients who had serious side effects from foscarnet. All-cause mortality was 59% at 1 year post-transplant.

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Electronic Pillbox May Improve Adherence To Complicated Medication Regime

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Bethany J. Foster, MD MSCE Montreal Children’s Hospital Department of Pediatrics,  Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational Health McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada

Dr. Foster

Bethany J. Foster, MD MSCE
Montreal Children’s Hospital
Department of Pediatrics,
Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational Health
McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Adolescent and young adult kidney transplant recipients have the highest risk of graft loss of any age group. One of the main reasons for this is not taking their anti-rejection medications as prescribed. Our study had the goal of testing an intervention to try to improve young patients’ adherence to their strict medication schedule. The intervention included feedback of how well they were taking their medications (which was monitored electronically), text message reminders for medication doses, and individualized coaching to address their personal barriers to taking their medications.

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Investigational Imaging Test Can Help Determine Success or Failure of Bone Marrow Transplant

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kirsten Williams, M.D. Blood and marrow transplant specialist Children’s National Health System

Dr. Williams

Kirsten Williams, M.D.
Blood and marrow transplant specialist
Children’s National Health System 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: This study addressed a life-threatening complication of bone marrow transplantation called bone marrow failure. Bone marrow transplantation has provided a cure for patients with aggressive leukemias or acquired or genetic marrow dysfunction. The process of bone marrow transplantation involves giving chemotherapy and/or radiation, which removes the diseased blood cells from the bone marrow. After this, new bone marrow stem cells are infused from a healthy individual. They travel to the bone marrow and start the slow process of remaking the blood system. Because these new cells start from infancy, it takes upwards of four to five weeks for new mature healthy cells to emerge into the blood, where they can be identified. Historically, there has been no timely way to determine if the new cells have successfully repopulated unless they can be seen in the blood compartment. This condition of bone marrow failure is life-threatening, because patients don’t have white blood cells to protect them from infection. Once bone marrow failure is diagnosed, a second new set of stem cells are infused, often after more chemotherapy is given. However, for many individuals this re-transplantation is too late, because severe infections can be fatal while waiting cells to recover.

We were the first group to use a new imaging test to understand how the newly infused bone marrow cells develop inside the patient. We have recently published a way to detect the new bone marrow cell growth as early as five days after the cells are given. We used an investigational nuclear medicine test to reveal this early cell growth, which could be detected weeks before the cells appear in the blood. This radiology test is safe, does not cause any problems and is not invasive. It is called FLT (18F-fluorothymidine) and the contrast is taken up by dividing hematopoietic stem cells. The patients could even see the growth of their new cells inside the bone marrow (which they very much enjoyed while waiting to see recovery of the cells in their blood). We could use the brightness of the image (called SUV) to determine approximately how many weeks remained before the cells were visible in the blood.

Finally, we actually could see where the new cells went after they were infused, tracking their settling in various organs and bones. Through this, we could see that cells did not travel directly to all of the bones right away as was previously thought, but rather first went to the liver and spleen, then to the mid-spine (thorax), then to the remainder of the spine and breastplate, and finally to the arms and legs. This pattern of bone marrow development is seen in healthy developing fetuses. In this case, it occurs in a similar pattern in adults undergoing bone marrow transplant.

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Umbilical Cord Blood Stem Cells May Improve Symptoms in Children with Autism

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Michael G. Chez, M.D. Director of Pediatric Neurology Sutter Memorial Hospital Director of the Pediatric Epilepsy and Autism Programs Sutter Neuroscience Group 

Dr. Michael Chez

Michael G. Chez, M.D.
Director of Pediatric Neurology Sutter Memorial Hospital
Director of the Pediatric Epilepsy and Autism Programs
Sutter Neuroscience Group 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: The study looked at possible use of autologous cord blood as a source of stem cells in patients with autism. The patients had to have fairly good genetic screening per protocol and had confirmation of autism to participate.

The use of cord blood was a pilot cross over double blind study with hypothesis that a post natal factor or immune dysregulation may add to the autism clinical phenotype.

Cord blood ( the baby’s own from birth) is a safe source of mixed stem cell types and should be safe from rejection or autoimmune reaction in theory.

Infusion /placebo or placebo/infusion was randomized and observed and tested every 3 months with switch to other wing of treatment at 0 and 6 months. Total observation was over 1 year.

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Potentially Cancerous Genital Lesions Common in Transplant Population

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Christina Lee Chung, MD Associate Professor Department of Dermatology Drexel University

Dr. Chung

Dr. Christina Lee Chung, MD
Associate Professor
Department of Dermatology
Drexel University

MedicalResearch.com:  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings?

Response: In early 2016, five years after the inception of our specialty medical-surgical transplant dermatology center, we realized our nonwhite transplant patients were developing skin cancer at higher rates and found interesting trends. These data were published in a previous manuscript. One of the more striking findings was that these patients were developing a high proportion of skin cancer in non-sun-exposed areas such as the genital region. There are no standard guidelines regarding genital skin evaluation and it is unclear how often it is performed in any capacity amongst dermatologists, including practitioners in our center, quite frankly. Our group was concerned that we could be missing skin cancers in this “hidden” area in our high-risk organ transplant population so we launched a quality improvement initiative that incorporated thorough genital skin evaluation as a standard part of post-transplant skin cancer screening.   

Fifteen months after we started this modified screening process, we decided to evaluate the results. To account for any variation in examination, we looked at the findings of a single practitioner.

We found that genital lesions are common in the transplant population and include high rates of genital warts and skin cancer. However, patient awareness of the presence of genital lesions was alarmingly low. Nonwhite transplant patients, Black transplant recipients in particular, were disproportionately affected by both genital warts and genital skin cancer in our cohort. Similar to cervical cancer, high-risk HPV types were closely associated with genital squamous cell carcinoma development in our transplant population. Continue reading

What Are The Health Risks To Living Kidney Donors?

Emanuele Di Angelantonio MPhl Department of Public Health and Primary Care School of Clinical Medicine University of Cambridge 

Emanuele Di Angelantonio

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Emanuele Di Angelantonio MPhl

Department of Public Health and Primary Care
School of Clinical Medicine
University of Cambridge 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: This systematic review supports and expands previous research suggesting that living kidney donors have no increased risk for several major chronic diseases, with the exception of end stage renal disease. Female donors seem to be at increased risk for preeclampsia. Furthermore, there was no evidence that living kidney donors had higher risk for mortality, cardiovascular disease, or type 2 diabetes, or reduced quality of life. –

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: This study highlights the low but real risks of living kidney donation and emphasise the importance of careful assessment and counseling for all living kidney donors. 

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: While this systematic review and meta-analysis provide some important answers, the field is still a long way from offering precise risk estimates to prospective donors.  

No disclosures 

Citations:

O’Keeffe LM, Ramond A, Oliver-Williams C, Willeit P, Paige E, Trotter P, et al. Mid- and Long-Term Health Risks in Living Kidney DonorsA Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Ann Intern Med. [Epub ahead of print 30 January 2018] doi: 10.7326/M17-1235

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Despite 20 Years of Programs and Policies, Racial Disparities in Kidney Transplants Widen

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Tanjala S. Purnell, PhD MPH Assistant Professor of Surgery, Epidemiology, and Health Behavior and Society Core Faculty, Epidemiology Research Group in Organ Transplantation Johns Hopkins University Associate Director for Education and Training, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Equity Member, OPTN/UNOS Minority Affairs Committee

Dr. Purnell

Tanjala S. Purnell, PhD MPH
Assistant Professor of Surgery, Epidemiology, and Health Behavior and Society
Core Faculty, Epidemiology Research Group in Organ Transplantation
Johns Hopkins University
Associate Director for Education and Training, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Equity
Member, OPTN/UNOS Minority Affairs Committee 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

  • Our study was motivated by the fact that we know live donor kidney transplants are associated with longer life expectancy and higher quality of life than deceased donor kidney transplants or long-term dialysis treatment. We also know that Black and Hispanic adults are more likely than White adults to have end-stage kidney disease but are less likely than White patients to receive live donor kidney transplants.
  • Over the last 2 decades, there have been several transplant education programs implemented within transplant centers and dialysis centers, and legislative policies enacted to improve overall access to live donor kidney transplants for patients. We wanted to see whether these programs and policies resulted in narrowed racial and ethnic disparities in access to live donor kidney transplants in the United States. 

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Alcohol-Harm Paradox Linked To Drinking Patterns

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Alcohol” by Jorge Mejía peralta is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr. Eirik Degerud, PhD

Norwegian Institute of Public Health

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Alcohol-related hospitalisations and deaths are more frequent among individuals with low socioeconomic position, despite that they tend to drink less on average. This is referred to as the alcohol-harm paradox. Alcohol is associated with both higher and lower risk of cardiovascular disease, depending on the drinking pattern. We wanted to assess if the paradox was relevant to these relationship also. Continue reading

Benefits of Transplanting Hepatitis C Infected Livers May Outweigh Risks

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jagpreet Chhatwal, PhD Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School MGH Institute for Technology Assessment Boston, MA

Dr. Chhatwal

Jagpreet Chhatwal, PhD
Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School
MGH Institute for Technology Assessment
Boston, MA and

Sumeyye Samur PhD Postdoctoral Fellow MGH-Harvard Medical School

Dr. Samur

Sumeyye Samur PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow
MGH-Harvard Medical School

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The number of patients who are in need of liver transplant continues to rise whereas the availability of organs remains limited, therefore, it becomes is important to utilize all available livers.

Under the current practices, only Hep-C infected patients are eligible to receive infected livers. However, with the advent of high efficacy drugs, number of infected recipients has decreased over the last decade. On the other hand, with the rise of opioid use, number of Hep-C infected organs increased. With this contradiction, it becomes paramount of importance to utilize the infected livers which could help save more lives on the transplant waiting list.

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Stem Cell Transplantation Offers Hope For Severe Scleroderma

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

“Breastfeeding welcome here” by Newtown grafitti is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Picture of a female patient’s left arm, showing skin lesions caused by Scleroderma
Wikipedia image

Keith M. Sullivan, M.D.
James B. Wyngaarden Professor Of Medicine
Division of Cellular Therapy
Duke University Medical Center
Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

  • Scleroderma with internal organ involvement is a devastating  autoimmune disorder with considerable morbidity and high mortality which have not changed in 40 years of reporting. Effective new therapies are needed.
  • Despite 2 prior randomized trials showing benefit for reduced-intensity stem cell transplant vs. conventional cyclophosphamide immune suppression, clinical practice in the US did not change due in part due to concern about patient safety and durability of response (attached).
  • The current randomized trial compares 12 monthly infusions of cyclophosphamide with high-dose chemotherapy plus whole-body irradiation designed to wipe-out (myeloablate) the defective, self-reactive immune system and replace with the patients own stem cells which had been treated to remove self-reacting lymphocytes. This was the first study to test if myeloablative autologous could re-establish a normal functioning immune system in patients with scleroderma.

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Letermovir (Prevymis) Prevents CMV Infection in Stem Cell Transplant

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Francisco M. Marty, M.D Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School Dana–Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Dr. Marty

Francisco M. Marty, M.D
Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School
Dana–Farber Cancer Institute and
Brigham and Women’s Hospital

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is the most common infection in patients who undergo allogeneic hematopoietic-cell transplantation (bone marrow transplantation with cells from donors different than the patient). Up until now, we had no antiviral agent that could be used for prophylaxis (prevention) of CMV post-transplant because of the side effects of drugs available to date (ganciclovir, valganciclovir, foscarnet, cidofovir).

This trial confirmed that letermovir was highly effective in preventing CMV infection when used in the first 100 days after allogeneic HCT, was associated with minimal side effects of concern and was also associated with lower all-cause mortality by Week 24 post-HCT.

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Capsule Fecal Transplant As Effective as By Colonoscopy for C. Diff Infections

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Clostridium difficile CDC image

Clostridium difficile
CDC image

Dina Kao, MD, FRCPC
Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We wanted to see what would be the best way to deliver fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT.)

There were many controlled studies of FMT delivered by various methods, showing different success rates. Not only were the route of delivery different, but the amount of donor stools also varied greatly from study to study. It appeared that most of the studies delivered by the upper routes gave a smaller amount of donor stool compared to the studies delivering FMT by colonoscopy.

Our hypothesis was that given the same amount of donor stool, the effectiveness would be similar by capsules and by colonsocopy.

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Non-Medical Factors Affect Racial Disparities in Kidney Transplant Wait Lists

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Yue-Harn Ng,
MD
University of New Mexico

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: ​African Americans (AA) have a higher incidence of end-stage renal disease but lower rates of kidney transplantation (KT) compared to whites (WH).  Disparities persist after adjusting for medical factors.  We assessed the relationship of non-medical (eg. cultural, psychosocial, knowledge) factors with kidney transplantation wait-listing (WL) within the context of racial differences.

​In this longitudinal cohort study, we found that African American patients were less likely to be wait-listed compared to White patients.  This difference was influenced by factors including age, comorbidities, socio-economic status, being on dialysis, having a living donor, transplant knowledge and social support.

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