Winter Greetings 2022
Winter Greetings as the days are getting shorter and nights chillier! The last few months have seen CICT growing and deepening in its commitment to improving the lives of patients with cancer and organ transplants. We happily celebrated our one-year anniversary in September, and look forward to continued collaboration with you in the coming years. Thank you for your support of the Center for Innovations in Cancer & Transplant--having you by our side inspires us every day!
Since our last update, we submitted grants to the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Medicine-Nephrology, grew our outreach and fundraising network, continued enrolling participants, and completed data analysis and study designs. In addition, we cared for a growing number of Cancer & Organ Transplant Clinic (COTC) patients and prepared for the Bioregistry launch.
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Bioregistry ready for beta-testing
The CICT bioregistry is truly the first of its kind-- a potent resource, this registry stores and shares patient-level data to enable multidimensional research around the country! The data comes from solid organ transplant candidates and recipients with cancer in the United States. Our team is currently beta testing with our own research data, and will soon include research and clinical data from other cancer centers and transplant programs around the country. We are looking forward to launching this backbone of our research program, and have eager collaborators ready to contribute to inaugural projects.
CICT Research Studies
It’s been a busy few months of study design, data analysis, manuscript writing, and continued participant enrollment in our ongoing studies.
Role of C3 in Renal Cell Carcinoma
We have enrolled 9 participants in our Role of C3 in Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC) study with the Co-PI Ram Akilesh, and support of UWMC urologic surgeons plus David Prince (UW Statistician). We are actively recruiting patients who are undergoing kidney removal for RCC, the most common type of kidney cancer. We seek to understand the role and significance of protein C3 in RCC, and ultimately to identify novel biomarkers and therapies to treat RCC.
Social Determinants of Health and Healthcare Equity
CICT is committed to equity in research and clinical care. Toward that goal, we are conducting a survey to understand the impact of social determinants of health (SDOH) and perceptions of structural racism on patients’ experiences and health outcomes by surveying solid organ transplant candidates and recipients, both with and without cancer. This study is led by Drs. Bessie Young and Yue-Harn Ng (UW), experts in the field of health care access and health equity. The team is finalizing the study design and nearing completion on the survey tool. Prior to study start up, members of our Community Engagement Committee will provide feedback on the survey to ensure that the patient voice guides the work. We will first survey patients at UWMC Kidney Transplant clinics and the FHCC Cancer and Organ Transplant Clinic, with plans to broaden recruitment throughout the country when additional funding is acquired.
Kidney Cancer Screening Study
We are delighted to announce that the manuscript for the Kidney Cancer Screening study is being prepared for submission. Junior Investigator Alyssa Ong, SUNY Stonybrook Graduate/Pre-Med, led this survey of nephrology providers in the US, Australia and New Zealand that assessed current kidney cancer screening practices and views of possible kidney cancer screening guidelines. Despite higher risks, there are no kidney cancer screening guidelines in patients with chronic kidney disease and end-stage kidney disease, including those on dialysis and with a kidney transplant. We will submit our findings as an abstract to the 2023 American Transplant Congress. Keep your eyes out for updates!
Plasma Cell Dyscrasia Study
Our Plasma Cell Dyscrasia study, led by second-year UW medical student Regina Tsay and assisted by Danyi Zheng, UW Transplant Nephrology Fellow, with additional leadership by Sarah Lee, myeloma expert at Fred Hutch Cancer Center, is in the data analysis phase. This is a retrospective review of the prevalence and outcomes of patients who are referred to UWMC for organ transplant with Plasma Cell Dyscrasia (PCD) – a group of blood disorders that can cause kidney or heart failure. This study will provide updated data on referral patterns and transplant outcomes to inform future referral trends, transplant program policies, and pre- and post-transplant care.
Regina presented a poster on this work at the UW School of Medicine III Poster Session on Nov. 15th. She will also submit our findings as an abstract to the 2023 American Transplant Congress.
DSP in Antibody Mediated Rejection Study
Shaaniya Mahabir is assisting with our Digital Spacing Profiling (DSP) in Antibody-mediated Rejection (AMR) study. Shaaniya is a UW Freshman, Pre-Med, who is busy collecting the data and learning the ins and outs of EPIC from Caitlin, while reminding us what life in the dorms is like. We are abstracting data on UWMC patients who have had a kidney transplant biopsy in the past 5 years and comparing standard methods of detecting rejection with digital spacing profiling methods. AMR remains the most formidable cause of kidney transplant failure, with limited understanding of the causes and therefore limited diagnostic and therapeutic options. Digital spatial profiling of kidney biopsy specimens is a novel technology that provides spatially defined cell protein/RNA profiles that may help better define causes of AMR and potential therapeutic targets.
We are excited to be collaborating with UW Professor Kelly Smith and Yuan Huang on this study!
Cancer and Organ Transplant Clinic
It has been a fulfilling and busy year at the CICT Cancer and Organ Transplant Clinic! The clinic celebrated its one-year anniversary in September with an evening together. Housed on the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center campus, the COTC is the first of its kind multi-disciplinary consult clinic for organ transplant candidates and recipients with cancer.
Patients benefit from a novel and personalized consultation - in one appointment they see both relevant cancer and transplant specialists, first separately and then together. At the end of the visit, patients and their referring provider(s) receive an integrated care plan with the ultimate goal of patient-centered care. Because visits can be stressful and include a lot of detailed information, we provide our patients with a flash drive recording of the joint care plan visit to take home. To date we have served 46 patients, with increasing outreach efforts in Washington State and beyond.
Patient participation in the bioregistry
All patients at the COTC are eligible to take part in the CICT bioregistry. In this way, the integration of our clinic and research center provides bidirectional benefits—patients receive the latest knowledge and state of the art care and simultaneously can contribute to cutting-edge research to improve the lives of future of organ transplant and cancer patients.
Deepening our advisory committee work
The CICT Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) and the Community Engagement Committee (CEC) have met twice – in April/May and again in November. Their guidance and work on behalf of CICT is so appreciated. The CEC helps to educate the broader patient and donor community and to secure needed funding through events, social media, and online fundraising activities. They also ensure that patients’ voices are heard in and inform our research and clinical work. The SAC offers guidance on the research and funding agenda, related to strategic decisions and networking.
We have been busy spreading the word out about CICT over the last few months! In October we hosted the first CICT and COTC gathering, to ensure that the research and clinic teams know each other better. It was such a success that we already have the next one planned!
That same month Chris, Caitlin and Barbara attended the NW Kidney Center Gala, and participated as 1 of 3 teams in the “Lab Crawl”.
Armed with our new CICT banner and our CICT brochures (let us know if you’d like one), we met and talked about CICT with so many people that night that we already have to order more brochures!
Speaking of brochures and outreach… We are delighted to be partnering with colleagues Dr. Catherine Duggan and Angela Carvajal at the Fred Hutch Collaborative Data Services (CDS) Language Core. The Language Core is facilitating Spanish translations of our website, video, and brochure, thus broadening access to patients and research participants who can benefit from CICT, and increasing opportunities for collaboration around the world. Ultimately, CDS will also provide translation for our study consent forms. We look forward to continuing to expand equity in healthcare and research with this group!
Our program continues to contribute to national and global research and healthcare initiatives. In October, Chris helped organize and lead the first Transplant Oncology conference. This conference involved multiple physicians, scientists and patients, and focused on the current knowledge of cancer immunotherapies in organ transplant recipients. In November, Chris presented to the Finnish Transplantation Academy on Cancer & Organ Transplant Candidacy.
In early December, Chris will present on the “Opportunity for Precision Diagnostics in Cancer & Transplant to Guide Personalized Medicine” at the Precision Medicine in Transplantation Symposium in Vancouver, B.C., which is organized by collaborators at the University of British Columbia.
Our Community Engagement Committee is planning several fundraising and outreach activities in the coming months. These range from educational webinars to articles in UW and Fred Hutch publications to special fundraising campaigns. Keep your eyes open for updates from them and us on these exciting initiatives!
You can find the latest CICT news on our website or on Twitter, and coming soon, on Facebook. Special thank you to CEC member Matt Reynolds for creating our Facebook page!
We are very hopeful to receive the DOD grant as well as others in the pipeline, but now more than ever we depend on individual donations to bridge funding mechanisms.
Invitation to Support CICT
As the year draws to a close, we invite you to consider a financial contribution to CICT, whether in honor of a loved one battling cancer or transplant, or in memory of friend or family member. Giving Tuesday is Nov 29th this year, and your gift will make all the difference! All donations will be matched on 11/29 and through the end of the year (12/31). Please know that your donation will be thoughtfully and carefully used to further our mission to improve the lives of cancer and transplant patients. Click here to donate: Make a Tax-Deductible Donation
We can also accept donations of stock, crypto-currency, or donations from a foundation. Contact the CICT Team for more information on these ways to donate.
We are so grateful for your support and couldn’t do it without you! Please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments.
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