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1.  Conformational Preferences of N,N-Dimethylsuccinamate as a Function of Alkali and Alkaline Earth Metal Salts: Experimental Studies in DMSO and Water As Determined by 1H NMR Spectroscopy 
The Journal of Physical Chemistry. a  2014;118(11):1965-1970.
The fraction of gauche conformers of N,N-dimethylsuccinamic acid (1) and its Li+, Na+, K+, Mg2+, Ca2+, and N(Bu)4+ salts were estimated in DMSO and D2O solution by comparing the experimental vicinal proton–proton couplings determined by 1H NMR spectroscopy with those calculated using the Haasnoot, de Leeuw, and Altona (HLA) equation. In DMSO, the gauche preferences were found to increase with decreasing Ahrens ionic radius of the metal counterion. The same trend was not seen in D2O, where the gauche fraction for all of the metallic salts were estimated to be approximately statistical or less. This highlights the importance of metal chelation on the conformation of organic molecules in polar aprotic media, which has implications for protein folding.
PMCID: PMC3983401  PMID: 24506581
2.  Phase I trial of bortezomib and dacarbazine in melanoma and soft tissue sarcoma 
Investigational new drugs  2013;31(4):10.1007/s10637-012-9913-8.
Preclinical studies in human melanoma cell lines and murine xenograft tumor models suggest that the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib enhances the activity of the cytotoxic agent dacarbazine. We performed a phase I trial of bortezomib and dacarbazine in melanoma, soft tissue sarcoma, and amine precursor uptake and decarboxylation tumors. The primary objective was to identify recommended phase II doses for the combination.
Experimental design
Bortezomib and dacarbazine were both administered intravenously once weekly. All patients received prophylactic antiemetics. Dose escalation proceeded using a standard 3+3 design. Response was assessed according to NCI RECIST v1.0.
Twenty eight patients were enrolled to six dose levels. Bortezomib 1.6 mg/m2 and dacarbazine 580 mg/m2 are the recommended phase II weekly doses. The combination was generally well tolerated. Among 15 patients with melanoma there was one durable complete response in a patient with an exon-11 cKIT mutation, and one partial response. Among 12 patients with soft tissue sarcoma there was one partial response.
Bortezomib 1.6 mg/m2 and dacarbazine 580 mg/m2 administered intravenously once weekly is well tolerated and has at least minimal activity in melanoma and soft tissue sarcoma.
PMCID: PMC3844155  PMID: 23315028
Bortezomib; Dacarbazine; Melanoma; Soft tissue sarcoma; Phase I trial
3.  A Phase I Trial of Vorinostat and Alvocidib in Patients with Relapsed, Refractory or Poor Prognosis Acute Leukemia, or Refractory Anemia with Excess Blasts-2 
This phase I study was conducted to identify the MTD of alvocidib when combined vorinostat in patients with relapsed, refractory, or poor prognosis acute leukemia, or refractory anemia with excess blasts-2 (RAEB-2). Secondary objectives included investigating the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic effects of the combination.
Experimental Design
Patients received vorinostat (200 mg orally, 3 times a day [TID], for 14 days), on a 21-day cycle, combined with 2 different alvocidib administration schedules: a 1-h intravenous infusion, daily x 5; or a 30-min loading infusion followed by a 4-h maintenance infusion, weekly x 2. The alvocidib dose was escalated using a standard 3+3 design.
Twenty-eight patients were enrolled and treated. The alvocidib MTD was 20 mg/m2 (30-min loading infusion) followed by 20 mg/m2 (4-h maintenance infusion) on days 1 and 8, in combination with vorinostat. The most frequently encountered toxicities were cytopenias, fatigue, hyperglycemia, hypokalemia, hypophosphatemia, and QT prolongation. Dose limiting toxicities (DLTs) were cardiac arrhythmia-atrial fibrillation and QT prolongation. No objective responses were achieved, although 13 of 26 evaluable patients exhibited stable disease. Alvocidib appeared to alter vorinostat pharmacokinetics, whereas alvocidib pharmacokinetics were unaffected by vorinostat. Ex vivo exposure of leukemia cells to plasma obtained from patients after alvocidib treatment blocked vorinostat-mediated p21CIP1 induction and down-regulated Mcl-1 and p-RNA Pol II for some specimens, although parallel in vivo bone marrow responses were infrequent.
Alvocidib combined with vorinostat is well tolerated. Although disease stabilization occurred in some heavily pretreated patients, objective responses were not obtained with these schedules.
PMCID: PMC3618599  PMID: 23515411
Vorinostat; Alvocidib; Acute Leukemia; Clinical Trial; Phase I
4.  p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase interacts with vinculin at focal adhesions during fatty acid-stimulated cell adhesion 
Arachidonic acid stimulates cell adhesion by activating α2β1 integrins in a process that depends on protein kinases, including p38 mitogen activated protein kinase. Here, we describe the interaction of cytoskeletal components with key signaling molecules that contribute to spreading of, and morphological changes in, arachidonic acid-treated MDA-MB-435 human breast carcinoma cells. Arachidonic acid-treated cells showed increased attachment and spreading on collagen type IV as measured by electric cell-substrate impedance sensing. Fatty acid-treated cells displayed short cortical actin filaments associated with an increased number of β1 integrin-containing pseudopodia whereas untreated cells displayed elongated stress fibers and fewer clusters of β1 integrins. Confocal microscopy of arachidonic acid-treated cells showed that vinculin and phospho-p38 both appeared enriched in pseudopodia and at the tips of actin filaments, and fluorescence ratio imaging indicated the increase was specific for the phospho-(active) form of p38. Immunoprecipitates of phospho-p38 from extracts of arachidonic acid-treated cells contained vinculin, and GST-vinculin fusion proteins carrying the central region of vinculin bound phospho-p38, whereas fusion proteins expressing the terminal portions of vinculin did not. These data suggest that phospho-p38 associates with particular domains on critical focal adhesion proteins that are involved in tumor cell adhesion and spreading and that this association can be regulated by factors in the tumor microenvironment.
PMCID: PMC3935246  PMID: 24219282
p38 MAP kinase; Vinculin; Signal transduction; Arachidonic acid; Cell adhesion
5.  Phase I Trial of the Combination of Flavopiridol and Imatinib Mesylate in Patients with Bcr-Abl+ Hematological Malignancies 
Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology  2012;69(6):1657-1667.
Imatinib is an inhibitor of the Bcr-Abl tyrosine kinase; however, resistance is common. Flavopiridol, a cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitor, down-regulates short-lived anti-apoptotic proteins via inhibition of transcription. In preclinical studies, flavopiridol synergizes with imatinib to induce apoptosis. We investigated this novel combination regimen in patients with Bcr-Abl+ malignancies.
In a phase I dose-escalation study, imatinib was administered orally daily, and flavopiridol by 1-hour intravenous infusion weekly for three weeks every four weeks. Adults with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) or Philadelphia chromosome-positive (Ph+) acute leukemias were eligible. Patients were divided into two strata based on peripheral blood and bone marrow blast counts. The primary objective was to identify the recommended phase II doses (RPTD) for the combination. Correlative pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic studies were also performed.
A total of 21 patients received study treatment. Four dose levels were evaluated before the study was closed following the approval of the second generation Bcr-Abl tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). Five patients responded, including four sustained responses. Four patients had stable disease. All but one responder, and all patients with stable disease had previously been treated with imatinib. One patient had a complete response sustained for 30 months. Changes in expression of phospho-Bcr/Abl, -Stat5, and Mcl-1 were monitored. No major pharmacokinetic interaction was observed.
This is the first study to evaluate the combination of a CDK inhibitor and a TKI in humans. The combination of flavopiridol and imatinib is tolerable and produces encouraging responses, including in some patients with imatinib-resistant disease.
PMCID: PMC3365614  PMID: 22349810
Imatinib; flavopiridol; cyclin dependent kinase inhibitor; CDK inhibitor; Bcr-Abl; tyrosine kinase inhibitor
6.  A phase I pharmacokinetic study of pulse-dose vorinostat with flavopiridol in solid tumors 
Investigational new drugs  2010;29(5):1004-1012.
Vorinostat (V) at levels >2.5 μM enhances chemotherapy in vitro. Yet the approved oral dose of 400 mg inconsistently achieves this level in patients. We developed an intermittent oral pulse-dose schedule of V to increase serum levels. We combined V with the cyclin dependent kinase inhibitor flavopiridol (F) which increases V-induced apoptosis.
Experimental Design
One week before combination treatment, V alone was given daily for 3d (cycle −1). Then V was given on d1-3 and d8-10, and F on d2 and d9, every 21-d. Due to neutropenia, this was modified to V on d1-3 and d15–17, and F on d2 and d16, every 28-d. Bolus and split-dose F schedules were studied.
34 patients were treated. On the 21-d schedule, the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) was V 600 mg/d and F 60 mg/m2 bolus. On the 28-d schedule, the MTD was V 800 mg/d and F 30 mg/m2 over 30 min and 30 mg/m2 over 4 h. V Cmax at the 800 mg dose was 4.8 μM (± 2.8). V Cmax ≥2.5 μM was achieved in 86% of patients at the MTD. F increased the Cmax of V by 27% (95% CI 11%–43%). F Cmax of ≥2 μM was achieved in 90% of patients. 8 patients had stable disease for on average 5.5 m (range 1.6–13.2 m).
Intermittent high dose oral V in combination with F is feasible and achieves target serum levels >2.5 μM. V concentrations higher than previously reported with oral dosing were achieved.
PMCID: PMC3545439  PMID: 20461440
CDKs and CDK inhibitors; Histone deacetylase inhibitors; Phase I trials; Combination chemotherapy; Pharmacokinetics
7.  A novel role for the T-box transcription factor Tbx1 as a negative regulator of tumor cell growth in mice 
Molecular carcinogenesis  2011;50(12):981-991.
The T-box transcription factor, Tbx1, an important regulatory gene in development, is highly expressed in hair follicle stem cells in adult mice. Because mouse models of skin carcinogenesis have demonstrated that hair follicle stem cells are a carcinogen target population and contribute significantly to tumor development, we investigated whether Tbx1 plays a role in skin carcinogenesis. We first assessed Tbx1 expression levels in mouse skin tumors, and found down-regulation in all tumors examined. To study the effect of Tbx1 expression on growth and tumorigenic potential of carcinoma cells, we transfected mouse Tbx1 cDNA into a mouse spindle cell carcinoma cell line that did not express endogenous Tbx1. Following transfection, two cell lines expressing different levels of the Tbx1/V5 fusion protein were selected for further study. Intradermal injection of the cell lines into mice revealed that Tbx1 expression significantly suppressed tumor growth, albeit with no change in tumor morphology. In culture, ectopic Tbx1 expression resulted in decreased cell growth and reduced development into multilayered colonies, compared to control cells. Tbx1-transfectants exhibited a reduced proliferative rate compared to control cells, with fewer cells in S and G2/M phases. The Tbx1 transfectants developed significantly fewer colonies in soft agar, demonstrating loss of anchorage independent growth. Taken together, our data show that ectopic expression of Tbx1 restored contact inhibition to the skin tumor cells, suggesting that this developmentally important transcription factor may have a novel dual role as a negative regulator of tumor growth.
PMCID: PMC3125489  PMID: 21438027
Skin cancer; stem cell; transcription factor; contact inhibition
8.  Using Age-Based Life History Data to Investigate the Life Cycle and Vulnerability of Octopus cyanea 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e43679.
Octopus cyanea is taken as an unregulated, recreationally fished species from the intertidal reefs of Ningaloo, Western Australia. Yet despite its exploitation and importance in many artisanal fisheries throughout the world, little is known about its life history, ecology and vulnerability. We used stylet increment analysis to age a wild O. cyanea population for the first time and gonad histology to examine their reproductive characteristics. O. cyanea conforms to many cephalopod life history generalisations having rapid, non-asymptotic growth, a short life-span and high levels of mortality. Males were found to mature at much younger ages and sizes than females with reproductive activity concentrated in the spring and summer months. The female dominated sex-ratios in association with female brooding behaviours also suggest that larger conspicuous females may be more prone to capture and suggests that this intertidal octopus population has the potential to be negatively impacted in an unregulated fishery. Size at age and maturity comparisons between our temperate bordering population and lower latitude Tanzanian and Hawaiian populations indicated stark differences in growth rates that correlate with water temperatures. The variability in life history traits between global populations suggests that management of O. cyanea populations should be tailored to each unique set of life history characteristics and that stylet increment analysis may provide the integrity needed to accurately assess this.
PMCID: PMC3422261  PMID: 22912898
9.  Phase I Trial of Bortezomib (PS-341; NSC 681239) and Alvocidib (Flavopiridol; NSC 649890) in Patients with Recurrent or Refractory B-cell Neoplasms 
A phase I study was conducted to determine the dose-limiting toxicities (DLT) and maximally tolerated dose (MTD) for the combination of bortezomib and alvocidib in patients with B cell malignancies (multiple myeloma, indolent and mantle cell lymphoma).
Experimental Design
Patients received bortezomib by IV push on days 1, 4, 8 and 11. Patients also received alvocidib on days 1 and 8 by 30 min bolus infusion followed by a 4 hour continuous infusion. Treatment was on a 21 day cycle, with indefinite continuation for patients experiencing responses or stable disease. Dose escalation employed a standard 3+3 design until the MTD was identified based upon DLTs. Pharmacokinetic studies and pharmacodynamic studies were performed.
Sixteen patients were treated. The MTD was established as 1.3 mg/m2 for bortezomib and 30 mg/m2 for alvocidib (both the 30 min bolus and 4 hour infusions). Common hematologic toxicities included leukopenia, lymphopenia, neutropenia, and thrombocytopenia. Common non-hematologic toxicities included fatigue and febrile neutropenia. DLTs included fatigue, febrile neutropenia, and elevated aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels. Two complete responses (CR; 12%) and five partial responses (PR; 31%) were observed at the MTD (overall response rate 44%). Pharmacokinetic results were typical for alvocidib, and pharmacodynamic studies yielded variable results.
The combination of bortezomib and alvocidib is tolerable and an MTD has been established for the tested schedule. The regimen appears active in patients with relapsed and/or refractory multiple myeloma or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, justifying phase II studies to determine the activity of this regimen more definitively.
PMCID: PMC3096752  PMID: 21447728
Alvocidib; bortezomib; B cell neoplasms; phase I clinical trial
10.  Arachidonic acid stimulates formation of a novel complex containing nucleolin and RhoA 
FEBS letters  2011;585(4):618-622.
Arachidonic acid (AA) stimulates cell adhesion through a p38 mitogen activated protein kinase-mediated RhoA signaling pathway. Here we report that a proteomic screen following AA-treatment identified nucleolin, a multifunctional nucleolar protein, in a complex with the GTPase, RhoA, that also included the Rho kinase, ROCK. AA-stimulated cell adhesion was inhibited by expression of nucleolin-targeted shRNA and formation of the multiprotein complex was blocked by expression of dominant-negative RhoA. AA-treatment also induced ROCK-dependent serine phosphorylation of nucleolin and translocation of nucleolin from the nucleus to the cytoplasm, where it appeared to co-localize with RhoA. These data suggest the existence of a new signaling pathway through which the location and post-translational state of nucleolin are modulated.
PMCID: PMC3089762  PMID: 21281639
Nucleolin; RhoA; Rho kinase; Arachidonic acid; Cell adhesion
11.  Lysine 63-linked ubiquitination is important for arachidonic acid-induced cellular adhesion and migration 
Arachidonic acid, a dietary cis-polyunsaturated fatty acid, stimulates adhesion and migration of human cancer cells on the extracellular matrix by activation of intracellular signaling pathways. Polyubiquitin chains bearing linkages through different lysine residues convey distinct structural and functional information that is important for signal transduction. We investigated whether ubiquitination was required for arachidonic acid-induced cellular adhesion and migration of MDA-MB-435 cells on collagen type IV. An E1 (ubiquitin-activating enzyme) inhibitor, PYR-431, completely abrogated arachidonic acid-stimulated adhesion. Additionally, expression of a lysine null mutant ubiquitin prevented activation of cellular adhesion. Cells expressing ubiquitin in which lysine 63 (K63) was mutated to arginine (K63R) were unable to adhere to collagen upon exposure to arachidonic acid. When K63 was the only lysine present, the cells retained the ability to adhere, indicating that K63-linked ubiquitin is both necessary and sufficient. Moreover, K63-linked ubiquitin was required for the induction of cell migration by arachidonic acid. The ubiquitin mutants and PYR-431 did not prevent arachidonic acid-induced phosphorylation of TGF-β activated kinase-1 (TAK1) and p38 MAPK, suggesting K63-linked ubiquitination occurs downstream of MAPK. These novel findings are the first to demonstrate a role for K63-linked ubiquitination in promoting cell adhesion and migration.
PMCID: PMC3097999  PMID: 21102657
adhesion; ubiquitin; metastasis; signal transduction; arachidonic acid
12.  Pain Site Frequency and Location in Sickle Cell Disease: the PiSCES Project 
Pain  2009;145(1-2):246-251.
Treatment options for sickle cell disease (SCD) pain could be tailored to pain locations. But few epidemiologic descriptions of SCD pain location exist; these are based on few subjects over short time periods. We examined whether SCD pain locations vary by disease genotype, gender, age, frequency of pain, depression, pain crisis or healthcare utilization.
We enrolled 308 adults with SCD in 2002–2004. Subjects kept daily pain diaries for up to 6 months, including a body chart. Analyses employed mixed model and generalized estimating equations.
260 subjects completed at least one body chart. An average of 3.3/16 sites (25%) were painful. The number of pain sites varied by age, depression, frequent pain days, crisis and unplanned hospital/ED utilization. Lower back, knee/shin and hip, hurt on average more than a third of pain days, while jaw and pelvis hurt on fewer than 10% of days. Odds of a crisis were increased substantially when pain was in the arm, shoulder, upper back, sternum, clavicle, chest or pelvis (OR>1.5) while the odds of unplanned utilization were substantially increased for the sternum, clavicle and chest (OR>2.0).
Pain in SCD varies considerably both within and between subjects, although it occurs most commonly in the lower back and lower extremities. The number and location of pain sites varies significantly by age, frequent pain, crisis and utilization. Identification and understanding of combinations of pain location and intensity may help to understand the etiology of SCD and improve SCD management.
PMCID: PMC2771372  PMID: 19631468
13.  15-Lipoxygenase-1 Activates Tumor Suppressor p53 Independent of Enzymatic Activity 
15-LOX-1 and its metabolites are involved in colorectal cancer. Recently, we reported that 15-LOX-1 overexpression in HCT-116 human colorectal cancer cells inhibited cell growth by induction of p53 phosphorylation (4). To determine whether the 15-LOX-1 protein or its metabolites are responsible for phosphorylation of p53 in HCT-116 cells, we used HCT-116 cells that expressed a mutant 15-LOX-1. The mutant 15-LOX-1 enzyme, with a substitution of Leu at residue His361, was devoid of enzymatic activity. HCT-116 cells transiently transfected with either native or mutant 15-LOX-1 showed an increase in p53 phosphorylation and an increase in the expression of downstream genes. Thus 15-LOX-1 induces p53 phosphorylation independent of enzymatic activity. Treatment of A549 human lung carcinoma cells with IL-4 increased the expression of 15-LOX-1 and also increased the expression of downstream targets of p53. This confirmed that the activation of p53 was also observed in wild type cells expressing physiological 15-LOX-1. Immunoprecipitation experiments revealed that 15-LOX-1 interacts with, and binds to, DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK). The binding of 15-LOX-1 to DNA-PK caused an approximate 3.0 fold enhancement in kinase activity, resulting in increased p53 phosphorylation at Ser15. Knockdown of DNA-PK by small interfering RNA (siRNA) significantly reduced p53 phosphorylation. Furthermore, confocal microscopy demonstrated a co-localization of 15-LOX and DNA-PK in the cells. We propose that the 15-LOX-1 protein binds to DNA-PK, increasing its kinase activity, and results in downstream activation of the tumor suppressor p53, thus revealing a new mechanism by which lipoxygenases may influence the phenotype of tumor cells.
PMCID: PMC2613223  PMID: 18785202
15-Lipoxygenase-1; the tumor suppressor p53; DNA-dependent protein kinase; p53 phosphorylation; HCT-116 cells
14.  Vorinostat and sorafenib synergistically kill tumor cells via FLIP suppression and CD95 activation 
Purpose and Design
Mechanism(s) by which the multi-kinase inhibitor sorafenib and the histone deacetylase inhibitor vorinostat interact to kill hepatic, renal and pancreatic adenocarcinoma cells have been defined.
Low doses of sorafenib and vorinostat interacted in vitro in a synergistic fashion to kill hepatic, renal and pancreatic adenocarcinoma cells in multiple short term viability (24–96h) and in long term colony formation assays. Cell killing was suppressed by inhibition of cathepsin proteases and caspase 8, and to a lesser extent by inhibition of caspase 9. Twenty four hours after exposure, the activities of ERK1/2, AKT and NFκB were only modestly modulated by sorafenib and vorinostat treatment. However, 24h after exposure, sorafenib and vorinostat- treated cells exhibited markedly diminished expression of c-FLIP-s, full length BID, BCL-2, BCLXL, MCL-1, XIAP, increased expression of BIM, and increased activation of BAX, BAK and BAD. Expression of eIF2α S51A blocked sorafenib and vorinostat –induced suppression of c-FLIP-s levels and over-expression of c-FLIP-s abolished lethality. Sorafenib and vorinostat treatment increased surface levels of CD95 and CD95 association with caspase 8. Knock down of CD95 or FADD expression significantly reduced sorafenib / vorinostat -mediated lethality.
These data demonstrate that combined exposure of epithelial tumor cell types to sorafenib and vorinostat diminishes expression of multiple anti-apoptotic proteins, promotes activation of the CD95 extrinsic apoptotic and the lysosomal protease pathways, and that suppression of c-FLIP-s expression represents a critical event in transduction of the pro-apoptotic signals from CD95 to promote mitochondrial dysfunction and death.
PMCID: PMC2561272  PMID: 18765530
Vorinostat; Sorafenib; CD95; c-FLIP-s; caspase 8; cathepsin; cell death
15.  P-Selectin Activates Integrin-mediated Colon Carcinoma Cell Adhesion to Fibronectin 
Experimental cell research  2006;312(20):4056-4069.
During hematogenous cancer metastasis, tumor cells separate from a primary mass, enter the bloodstream, disperse throughout the body, migrate across vessel walls, and generate distant colonies. The later steps of metastasis superficially resemble leukocyte extravasation, a process initiated by selectin-mediated cell tethering to the blood vessel wall followed by integrin-mediated arrest and transendothelial migration. Some cancer cells express P-selectin ligands and attach to immobilized Pselectin, suggesting that these cells can arrest in blood vessels using sequential selectin- and integrin-mediated adhesion, as do leukocytes. We hypothesize that selectin binding may regulate subsequent integrin-mediated steps in metastasis. Using a model system of cultured Colo 320 human colon adenocarcinoma cells incubated with soluble P-selectin-IgG chimeric protein, we have found that P-selectin can stimulate activation of the α5β1 integrin resulting in a specific increase of adhesion and spreading of these cells on fibronectin substrates. P-selectin binding also induced activation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38 MAPK) and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-K). PI3-K inhibitors blocked P-selectin-mediated integrin activation, cell attachment, and cell spreading. Inhibition of p38 MAPK activation blocked cell spreading, but not cell attachment. P-Selectin binding also resulted in formation of a signaling complex containing PI3-K and p38 MAPK. These results suggest that P-selectin binding to tumor cells can activate α5β1 integrin via PI3-K and p38 MAPK signaling pathways leading to increased cell adhesion. We propose that P-selectin ligands are important tumor cell signaling molecules that modulate integrin-mediated cell adhesion in the metastatic process.
PMCID: PMC1853301  PMID: 17056038
16.  Patient satisfaction in specialized versus nonspecialized adult sickle cell care centers: the PiSCES study. 
BACKGROUND: Sickle cell disease (SCD) patients can receive their ambulatory care from either SCD specialists (caregivers with sickle cell-only clinics) or nonspecialized care centers. Patient satisfaction, an important factor that may influence compliance and outcome, can differ between the two groups because of the perceived quality of care, outcomes or practice style. METHODS: We administered a patient satisfaction survey to 308 participants in an SCD prospective cohort study. Of the 308 patients, 133 (43.2%) received the majority of their SCD care at specialized centers, 152 (49.3%) received their care from nonspecialized centers and 26 (7.5) did not provide information. The satisfaction surveys measured general satisfaction (GS), technical quality (TQ), interpersonal manner (IM), communication (CM), financial aspects (FA), time spent with doctor (TA), and accessibility and convenience (AC). Patients reported their levels of satisfaction using a five-point Likert scale. We compared unadjusted group means, as well as means adjusted for potential confounders such as marital status, on patient satisfaction between specialized and nonspecialized centers. RESULTS: SCD patients who received their care from specialized centers had significantly higher mean satisfaction scores, compared to those who received their care from nonspecialized centers: GS 4.00(+/-0.93) vs. 3.66 (+/- 01.16, p=0.0326), TQ 3.98 (+/- 0.77) vs. 3.65 (+/- 0.91, p=0.0058), AC 3.83 (+/-0.79) vs. 3.51 (+/- 1.02, p=0.0142) , FA 3.88 (+/-0.96) vs. 3.49 (+/-1.25, p=0.0120). There were no statistically significant group differences in IM, TA and CM. CONCLUSION: SCD patients who received most of their SCD care from specialized centers had somewhat higher satisfaction scores in some areas when compared with patients who received their care from nonspecialized centers.
PMCID: PMC2574305  PMID: 17722665
17.  Health related quality of life in sickle cell patients: The PiSCES project 
Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a chronic disease associated with high degrees of morbidity and increased mortality. Health-related quality of life (HRQOL) among adults with sickle cell disease has not been widely reported.
We administered the Medical Outcomes Study 36-item Short-Form to 308 patients in the Pain in Sickle Cell Epidemiology Study (PiSCES) to assess HRQOL. Scales included physical function, physical and emotional role function, bodily pain, vitality, social function, mental health, and general health. We compared scores with national norms using t-tests, and with three chronic disease cohorts: asthma, cystic fibrosis and hemodialysis patients using analysis of variance and Dunnett's test for comparison with a control. We also assessed whether SCD specific variables (genotype, pain, crisis and utilization) were independently predictive of SF-36 subscales, controlling for socio-demographic variables using regression.
Patients with SCD scored significantly worse than national norms on all subscales except mental health. Patients with SCD had lower HRQOL than cystic fibrosis patients except for mental health. Scores were similar for physical function, role function and mental health as compared to asthma patients, but worse for bodily pain, vitality, social function and general health subscales. Compared to dialysis patients, sickle cell disease patients scored similarly on physical role and emotional role function, social functioning and mental health, worse on bodily pain, general health and vitality and better on physical functioning. Surprisingly, genotype did not influence HRQOL except for vitality. However, scores significantly decreased as pain levels increased.
SCD patients experience health related quality of life worse than the general population, and in general, their scores were most similar to patients undergoing hemodialysis. Practitioners should regard their HRQOL as severely compromised. Interventions in SCD should consider improvements in health related quality of life as important outcomes.
PMCID: PMC1253526  PMID: 16129027
18.  Understanding pain and improving management of sickle cell disease: the PiSCES study. 
Until recent decades, sickle cell disease (SCD) was associated with recurrent, disabling pain, organ failure and death in childhood or early adulthood. SCD treatment advances have now decreased pain and prolonged survival, but episodic or chronic pain may still require substantial analgesic use and frequent hospitalization for pain episodes. This pain is poorly characterized and often poorly treated. Adult patients may face barriers to comprehensive SCD care, stigmatization of their care-seeking behavior by providers and lack of family support, forcing them into maladaptive coping strategies. The Pain in Sickle Cell Epidemiology Study (PiSCES) attempts to develop and validate a biopsychosocial model of SCD pain, pain response and healthcare utilization in a large, multisite adult cohort. PiSCES participants complete a baseline survey and six months of daily pain diaries in which they record levels of SCD-related pain and related disability and distress as well as responses to pain (e.g., medication use, hospital visits). PiSCES will advance methods of measuring pain and pain response in SCD by better describing home-managed as well as provider-managed pain. PiSCES will assess the relative contributions of biological (disease-related), psychosocial and environmental (readiness to utilize) factors to overall pain and pain response in SCD, suggesting targets for biobehavioral interventions over time. Importantly, PiSCES will also identify "triggers" of SCD pain episodes and healthcare utilization in the moment of pain, suggesting targets for timely care that mutes pain episodes.
PMCID: PMC2568749  PMID: 15712781

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