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OBJECTIVE - The study goal is to highlight strategies for promoting relevance of research capacity-building efforts targeting community organizations (CO)s.
METHODS - Two community partners, representing two COs, were invited to participate in CO research development trainings, Community Research Forums (Forum)s. Their contributions were documented via Forum document review. Forum participants, representatives from other COs, completed post-Forum surveys to identify additional training needs and rate Forum impact relative to their training expectations. A content-based analysis and descriptive statistics were used to summarize needs assessment- and impact-related survey responses, respectively.
RESULTS - Community partners were involved in eight Forum-related activities including marketing (planning), facilitation (implementation), and manuscript coauthorship (dissemination). Eighty-one individuals, representing 55 COs, attended the Forums. Needs assessment responses revealed a desire for additional assistance with existing Forum topics (e.g., defining research priorities) and a need for new ones (e.g., promoting organizational buy in for research). Ninety-one percent of participants agreed that the Forum demonstrated the value of research to COs and how to create a research agenda.
CONCLUSIONS - Including community partners in all Forum phases ensured that CO perspectives were integrated throughout. Post-Forum needs and impact assessment results will help in tailoring, where needed, future training topics and strategies, respectively.
© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
The development and use of consensus criteria for acute kidney injury (AKI) diagnosis and the inclusion of recently identified markers of renal parenchymal damage as endpoints in clinical trials have improved the ability of physicians to compare the incidence and severity of AKI across patient populations, provided targets for testing new treatments, and may increase insight into the mechanisms of AKI. To date, these markers have not consistently translated into important clinical outcomes. Is that because these markers of renal injury/dysfunction are measurements of process of care (and not indicative of persistently impaired renal function), or is it because patients do actually recover from AKI? Physicians currently have limited ability to measure renal function reserve, and the ultimate consequence of a case of AKI on long-term morbidity remains unclear. There is little doubt that groups of patients who develop AKI have worse outcomes than groups of patients who do not, but investigators are now realizing the value of measuring clinically meaningful renal endpoints in all subjects enrolled in AKI clinical trials. Important examples of these outcomes include persistently impaired renal function, new hemodialysis, and death. We propose that these major adverse kidney events (MAKE) be included in all effectiveness clinical trials. Adaptation of the MAKE composite assessed 30, 60, or 90 days following AKI (i.e., MAKE30 or MAKE90) will improve our capacity to understand and treat AKI and may also provide a consensus composite to allow comparison of different interventions. Primary endpoints for phase I and II clinical trials, on the other hand, should continue to use continuous markers of renal injury/dysfunction as well as 'hard' clinical outcomes in order to generate meaningful data with limited subject exposure to untested treatments. By doing so, investigators may assess safety without requiring large sample sizes, demonstrate treatment effect of an unknown therapeutic, and power subsequent studies. In contrast, phase III trials should include consensus AKI criteria and more important subsequent clinical outcomes, such as MAKE90, as primary endpoints.
2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
The discovery of rare genetic variants is accelerating, and clear guidelines for distinguishing disease-causing sequence variants from the many potentially functional variants present in any human genome are urgently needed. Without rigorous standards we risk an acceleration of false-positive reports of causality, which would impede the translation of genomic research findings into the clinical diagnostic setting and hinder biological understanding of disease. Here we discuss the key challenges of assessing sequence variants in human disease, integrating both gene-level and variant-level support for causality. We propose guidelines for summarizing confidence in variant pathogenicity and highlight several areas that require further resource development.
BACKGROUND - The increased use of human biological material for cell-based research and clinical interventions poses risks to the privacy of patients and donors, including the possibility of re-identification of individuals from anonymized cell lines and associated genetic data. These risks will increase as technologies and databases used for re-identification become affordable and more sophisticated. Policies that require ongoing linkage of cell lines to donors' clinical information for research and regulatory purposes, and existing practices that limit research participants' ability to control what is done with their genetic data, amplify the privacy concerns.
DISCUSSION - To date, the privacy issues associated with cell-based research and interventions have not received much attention in the academic and policymaking contexts. This paper, arising out of a multi-disciplinary workshop, aims to rectify this by outlining the issues, proposing novel governance strategies and policy recommendations, and identifying areas where further evidence is required to make sound policy decisions. The authors of this paper take the position that existing rules and norms can be reasonably extended to address privacy risks in this context without compromising emerging developments in the research environment, and that exceptions from such rules should be justified using a case-by-case approach. In developing new policies, the broader framework of regulations governing cell-based research and related areas must be taken into account, as well as the views of impacted groups, including scientists, research participants and the general public.
SUMMARY - This paper outlines deliberations at a policy development workshop focusing on privacy challenges associated with cell-based research and interventions. The paper provides an overview of these challenges, followed by a discussion of key themes and recommendations that emerged from discussions at the workshop. The paper concludes that privacy risks associated with cell-based research and interventions should be addressed through evidence-based policy reforms that account for both well-established legal and ethical norms and current knowledge about actual or anticipated harms. The authors also call for research studies that identify and address gaps in understanding of privacy risks.
ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) systems of care have been associated with significant improvement in use and timeliness of reperfusion. Consequently, national guidelines recommend that each community should develop a regional STEMI care system. However, significant barriers continue to impede widespread establishment of regional STEMI care systems in the United States. We designed the Regional Systems of Care Demonstration Project: Mission: Lifeline STEMI Systems Accelerator, a national educational outcome research study in collaboration with the American Heart Association, to comprehensively accelerate the implementation of STEMI care systems in 17 major metropolitan regions encompassing >1,500 emergency medical service agencies and 450 hospitals across the United States. The goals of the program are to identify regional gaps, barriers, and inefficiencies in STEMI care and to devise strategies to implement proven recommendations to enhance the quality and consistency of care. The study interventions, facilitated by national faculty with expertise in regional STEMI system organization in partnership with American Heart Association representatives, draw upon specific resources with proven past effectiveness in augmenting regional organization. These include bringing together leading regional health care providers and institutions to establish common commitment to STEMI care improvement, developing consensus-based standardized protocols in accordance with national professional guidelines to address local needs, and collecting and regularly reviewing regional data to identify areas for improvement. Interventions focus on each component of the reperfusion process: the emergency medical service, the emergency department, the catheterization laboratory, and inter-hospital transfer. The impact of regionalization of STEMI care on clinical outcomes will be evaluated.
The 2005 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Consensus Conference recommended assessment of lung function in patients with chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) by both pulmonary function tests (PFTs) and assessment of pulmonary symptoms. We tested whether pulmonary measures were associated with nonrelapse mortality (NRM), overall survival (OS), and patient-reported outcomes (PRO). Clinician and patient-reported data were collected serially in a prospective, multicenter, observational study. Available PFT data were abstracted. Cox regression models were fit for outcomes using a time-varying covariate model for lung function measures and adjusting for patient and transplantation characteristics and nonlung chronic GVHD severity. A total of 1591 visits (496 patients) were used in this analysis. The NIH symptom-based lung score was associated with NRM (P = .02), OS (P = .02), patient-reported symptoms (P < .001) and functional status (P < .001). Worsening of NIH symptom-based lung score over time was associated with higher NRM and lower survival. All other measures were not associated with OS or NRM; although, some were associated with patient-reported lung symptoms. In conclusion, the NIH symptom-based lung symptom score of 0 to 3 is associated with NRM, OS, and PRO measures in patients with chronic GVHD. Worsening of the NIH symptom-based lung score was associated with increased mortality.
Copyright © 2014 American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - Sample size calculation is an important issue in the experimental design of biomedical research. For RNA-seq experiments, the sample size calculation method based on the Poisson model has been proposed; however, when there are biological replicates, RNA-seq data could exhibit variation significantly greater than the mean (i.e. over-dispersion). The Poisson model cannot appropriately model the over-dispersion, and in such cases, the negative binomial model has been used as a natural extension of the Poisson model. Because the field currently lacks a sample size calculation method based on the negative binomial model for assessing differential expression analysis of RNA-seq data, we propose a method to calculate the sample size.
RESULTS - We propose a sample size calculation method based on the exact test for assessing differential expression analysis of RNA-seq data.
CONCLUSIONS - The proposed sample size calculation method is straightforward and not computationally intensive. Simulation studies to evaluate the performance of the proposed sample size method are presented; the results indicate our method works well, with achievement of desired power.
Protein biomarkers are needed to deepen our understanding of cancer biology and to improve our ability to diagnose, monitor, and treat cancers. Important analytical and clinical hurdles must be overcome to allow the most promising protein biomarker candidates to advance into clinical validation studies. Although contemporary proteomics technologies support the measurement of large numbers of proteins in individual clinical specimens, sample throughput remains comparatively low. This problem is amplified in typical clinical proteomics research studies, which routinely suffer from a lack of proper experimental design, resulting in analysis of too few biospecimens to achieve adequate statistical power at each stage of a biomarker pipeline. To address this critical shortcoming, a joint workshop was held by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), and American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) with participation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). An important output from the workshop was a statistical framework for the design of biomarker discovery and verification studies. Herein, we describe the use of quantitative clinical judgments to set statistical criteria for clinical relevance and the development of an approach to calculate biospecimen sample size for proteomic studies in discovery and verification stages prior to clinical validation stage. This represents a first step toward building a consensus on quantitative criteria for statistical design of proteomics biomarker discovery and verification research.
The application of metabolomics in multi-centre studies is increasing. The aim of the present study was to assess the effects of geographical location on the metabolic profiles of individuals with the metabolic syndrome. Blood and urine samples were collected from 219 adults from seven European centres participating in the LIPGENE project (Diet, genomics and the metabolic syndrome: an integrated nutrition, agro-food, social and economic analysis). Nutrient intakes, BMI, waist:hip ratio, blood pressure, and plasma glucose, insulin and blood lipid levels were assessed. Plasma fatty acid levels and urine were assessed using a metabolomic technique. The separation of three European geographical groups (NW, northwest; NE, northeast; SW, southwest) was identified using partial least-squares discriminant analysis models for urine (R² X: 0·33, Q²: 0·39) and plasma fatty acid (R² X: 0·32, Q²: 0·60) data. The NW group was characterised by higher levels of urinary hippurate and N-methylnicotinate. The NE group was characterised by higher levels of urinary creatine and citrate and plasma EPA (20 : 5 n-3). The SW group was characterised by higher levels of urinary trimethylamine oxide and lower levels of plasma EPA. The indicators of metabolic health appeared to be consistent across the groups. The SW group had higher intakes of total fat and MUFA compared with both the NW and NE groups (P≤ 0·001). The NE group had higher intakes of fibre and n-3 and n-6 fatty acids compared with both the NW and SW groups (all P< 0·001). It is likely that differences in dietary intakes contributed to the separation of the three groups. Evaluation of geographical factors including diet should be considered in the interpretation of metabolomic data from multi-centre studies.