ASH Recognizes Choosing Wisely® Champions, NIH Awards Grant to Examine Spliceosomal Mutations in MDS, and more

ASH Recognizes Choosing Wisely® Champions During Annual Meeting

The American Society of Hematology (ASH) recognized three inaugural Choosing Wisely® Champions during the 2016 annual meeting. The honorees spoke at a Special-Interest Session that highlighted their work in reducing unnecessary burden in hematologic care.

“Improving quality in medical practice requires creativity, hard work, dedication, and the ability to question commonplace practices,” said Lisa Hicks, MD, of St. Michael’s Hospital and the University of Toronto and chair of the ASH Choosing Wisely Task Force. “[The] Choosing Wisely Champions [initiative] is a way for us to honor practitioners who have taken on the challenge of eliminating the unnecessary and potentially harmful hematology tests and treatments at their own institutions.”

The 2016 ASH Choosing Wisely Champions are:

Maria Juarez, MD, Baylor Scott & White Health, Cancer Institute of Dallas, Texas

Dr. Juarez and colleagues developed an institutional clinical practice recommendation based on published red blood cell (RBC) use guidelines, modified transfusion workflow in the electronic health record (EHR), and launched an educational campaign (“Why give 2 when 1 will do?”) to combat variability in RBC use.

Javier Munoz, MD, MS, Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, Gilbert, Arizona

To avoid potential harm from over-testing, Dr. Munoz and colleagues investigated whether adding an automatic alert in an EHR could remind clinicians to consider the benefits and risks of post-treatment imaging scans for patients with lymphoma. The study is ongoing, but the automatic alert has reduced the overall number of imaging studies from a monthly average of 48.3 to a monthly average of 25.3 during the first three months of the intervention.

Ravi Sarode, MD, University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas

To promote appropriate use of thrombophilia testing, Dr. Sarode and colleagues developed local guidelines that are built into the EHR through a series of cascading questions that direct providers prior to ordering tests. After implementation, UT Southwestern reduced thrombophilia testing for inpatients by more than 90 percent.

Source: American Society of Hematology press release, December 5, 2016.

James Bearden Receives NIH’s Harry Hynes Award

James Bearden, MD, a hematologist/oncologist at the Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute in South Carolina, received the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Harry Hynes Award.

The award recognizes individuals who display an outstanding commitment to clinical research, and it honors Harry Hynes, MD, PhD, the principal investigator of the Wichita Community Clinical Oncology Program in Kansas, for his dedication and commitment to bringing clinical trials to the community setting.

Dr. Bearden is being recognized for his research efforts in collaboration with the Community Clinical Oncology Program and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Community Oncology Research Program to bring clinical trials to the community setting . He served as president of South Carolina’s Oncology Society and led initiatives to support statewide NCI trials in collaboration with a local university, two medical schools, and four of the state’s largest hospitals. Dr. Bearden has worked within the community to build additional care networks for the indigent and underserved populations.

Source: NIH press release, November 7, 2016.

NHLBI Awards Contract to University of Miami’s Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute for Cell Therapy Research

As part of its Production Assistance for Cellular Therapies (PACT) program, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) issued a Cell Processing Facilities (CPFs) contract to the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute (ISCI) at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

The PACT program advances cellular therapy research in regeneration of damaged and diseased tissues, organs, biologic systems, and targeted treatments for serious diseases without effective therapies. Over the next five years, ISCI will receive $650,882 from the NHLBI for administrative costs.

ISCI’s role will be to facilitate research related to cellular therapies and manufacture cellular therapy products.

This is the third contract ISCI has received from the NHLBI related to stem cell research; others include the Specialized Centers for Cell-Based Therapy and Cardiovascular Cell Therapy Research Network.

Source: University of Miami press release, November 21, 2016.

Ellis J. Neufeld Appointed Clinical Director, Physician-in-Chief, and EVP at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Ellis J. Neufeld, MD, PhD, will join St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in March 2017 as clinical director, physician-in-chief, and executive vice president. Dr. Neufeld will oversee the organization’s academic clinical departments and all clinical operations.

Dr. Neufeld is formerly associate chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center.

Source: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, December 14, 2016.

NIH Awards Researchers $2.4 Million Grant to Examine Spliceosomal Mutations in MDS

The NIH awarded a four-year, $2.4 million R01 grant to two researchers at the Cleveland Clinic: Jaroslaw Maciejewski, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Translational Hematology and Oncology Research in the Taussig Cancer Institute and Lerner Research Institute, and Richard Padgett, PhD, of the Lerner Research Institute, to examine the role of spliceosomal factor mutations and deletions in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS).

Dr. Maciejewski’s laboratory was among the first to report mutations in components of the spliceosomal machinery in myeloid malignancies, including MDS and acute myeloid leukemia. Dr. Padgett’s laboratory specializes in the investigation of spliceosomal function and has made key contributions to the understanding of spliceosomal biology.

Source: Cleveland Clinic press release, October 14, 2016.