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1.  The CITRA Pilot Studies Program: Mentoring Translational Research 
The Gerontologist  2007;47(6):845-850.
Purpose
We developed an innovative pilot studies program to foster partnerships between university researchers and agencies serving older people in New York City. The development of researchers willing to collaborate with frontline service agencies and service agencies ready to partner with researchers is critical for translating scientific research into evidence-based practice that benefits community-dwelling older adults.
Design and Methods
We adapted the traditional academic pilot studies model to include key features of community-based participatory research.
Results
In partnership with a network of 265 senior centers and service agencies, we built a multistep program to recruit and educate scientific investigators and agencies in the principles of community-based research and to fund research partnerships that fulfilled essential elements of research translation from university to community: scientific rigor, sensitivity to community needs, and applicability to frontline practice. We also developed an educational and monitoring infrastructure to support projects.
Implications
Pilot studies programs developing community-based participatory research require an infrastructure that can supplement individual pilot investigator efforts with centralized resources to ensure proper implementation and dissemination of the research. The financial and time investment required to maintain programs such as those at the Cornell Institute for Translational Research on Aging, or CITRA, may be a barrier to establishing similar programs.
PMCID: PMC3981742  PMID: 18192638
Community-based participatory research; Investigator development; Research to practice
2.  Predicting Chemotherapy Toxicity in Older Adults With Cancer: A Prospective Multicenter Study 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2011;29(25):3457-3465.
Purpose
Older adults are vulnerable to chemotherapy toxicity; however, there are limited data to identify those at risk. The goals of this study are to identify risk factors for chemotherapy toxicity in older adults and develop a risk stratification schema for chemotherapy toxicity.
Patients and Methods
Patients age ≥ 65 years with cancer from seven institutions completed a prechemotherapy assessment that captured sociodemographics, tumor/treatment variables, laboratory test results, and geriatric assessment variables (function, comorbidity, cognition, psychological state, social activity/support, and nutritional status). Patients were followed through the chemotherapy course to capture grade 3 (severe), grade 4 (life-threatening or disabling), and grade 5 (death) as defined by the National Cancer Institute Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events.
Results
In total, 500 patients with a mean age of 73 years (range, 65 to 91 years) with stage I to IV lung (29%), GI (27%), gynecologic (17%), breast (11%), genitourinary (10%), or other (6%) cancer joined this prospective study. Grade 3 to 5 toxicity occurred in 53% of the patients (39% grade 3, 12% grade 4, 2% grade 5). A predictive model for grade 3 to 5 toxicity was developed that consisted of geriatric assessment variables, laboratory test values, and patient, tumor, and treatment characteristics. A scoring system in which the median risk score was 7 (range, 0 to 19) and risk stratification schema (risk score: percent incidence of grade 3 to 5 toxicity) identified older adults at low (0 to 5 points; 30%), intermediate (6 to 9 points; 52%), or high risk (10 to 19 points; 83%) of chemotherapy toxicity (P < .001).
Conclusion
A risk stratification schema can establish the risk of chemotherapy toxicity in older adults. Geriatric assessment variables independently predicted the risk of toxicity.
doi:10.1200/JCO.2011.34.7625
PMCID: PMC3624700  PMID: 21810685
3.  Falls and Physical Performance Deficits in Older Patients With Prostate Cancer Undergoing Androgen Deprivation Therapy 
Urology  2008;72(2):422-427.
OBJECTIVES
Men experience a decrease in lean muscle mass and strength during the first year of androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). The prevalence of falls and physical and functional impairment in this population have not been well described.
METHODS
A total of 50 men aged 70 years and older (median 78) receiving ADT for systemic prostate cancer (80% biochemical recurrence) underwent functional and physical assessments. The functional assessments included Katz’s Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and Lawton’s Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs). Patients completed the Vulnerable Elder’s Survey-13, a short screening tool of self-perceived functional and physical performance ability. Physical performance was assessed using the Short Physical Performance Battery. The history of falls was recorded. Of the 50 patients, 40 underwent follow-up assessment with the same instruments 3 months after the initial assessment.
RESULTS
Of the 50 men, 24% had impairment in the ADLs, 42% had impairment in the IADLs, 56% had abnormal Short Physical Performance Battery findings, and 22% reported falls within the previous 3 months. Within the Short Physical Performance Battery, deficits occurred within all subcomponents (balance, walking, and chair stands). On univariate analysis, age, deficits in ADLs and IADLs, and abnormal cognitive and functional screen findings were associated with an increased risk of abnormal physical performance. ADL deficits, the use of an assistive device, and abnormal functional screen findings were associated with an increased risk of falling.
CONCLUSIONS
The results of our study have shown that older men with prostate cancer receiving long-term ADT exhibit significant functional and physical impairment and are at risk of falls that is greater than that for similar-aged cohorts. Careful assessment of the functional and physical deficits in older patients receiving ADT is warranted.
doi:10.1016/j.urology.2008.03.032
PMCID: PMC3032402  PMID: 18561991
4.  Durable Responses with the Metronomic Regimen RT-PEPC in Elderly Patients with Recurrent Mantle Cell Lymphoma 
Cancer  2010;116(11):2655-2664.
BACKGROUND
Targeting the tumor microenvironment and angiogenesis is a novel lymphoma therapeutic strategy. We report safety, activity and angiogenic profiling with the RT-PEPC regimen (rituximab with thalidomide, and prednisone, etoposide, procarbazine and cyclophosphamide) in recurrent mantle cell lymphoma (MCL).
METHODS
RT-PEPC includes induction (months 1–3) of weekly rituximab × 4, daily thalidomide (50 mg) and PEPC, then maintenance thalidomide (100 mg), oral PEPC titrated to neutrophil count, and rituximab every 4 months. Endpoints included safety, efficacy, quality of life (QoL), and translational studies including tumor angiogenic phenotyping, plasma VEGF and circulating endothelial cells.
RESULTS
Twenty-five pts were enrolled (22 evaluable) with median age 68 yrs (range 52–81), 24 (96%) stage III/IV, 18 (72%) IPI 3–5, 20 (80%) high risk MIPI, median 2 prior therapies (range 1–7), and 15 (60%) bortezomib progressors. At a median follow-up of 38 months, ORR was 73% (32% CR/CRu, 41% PR, n=22) and median PFS 10 months. Four CRs are ongoing (6+, 31+, 48+ and 50+ months). Toxicities included grade 1–2 fatigue, rash, neuropathy and cytopenias including grade 1–2 thrombocytopenia (64%) and grade 3–4 neutropenia (64%). Two thromboses and 5 grade 3–4 infections occurred. QoL was maintained or improved. Correlative studies demonstrated tumor autocrine angiogenic loop (expression of VEGFA and VEGFR1) and heightened angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis in stroma. Plasma VEGF and circulating endothelial cells trended down with treatment.
CONCLUSIONS
RT-PEPC has significant and durable activity in MCL, with manageable toxicity and maintained QoL. Novel low-intensity approaches warrant further evaluation, potentially as initial therapy in elderly patients.
doi:10.1002/cncr.25055
PMCID: PMC3004744  PMID: 20235190
5.  Distress in Older Patients With Cancer 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2009;27(26):4346-4351.
Purpose
To determine the predictors of distress in older patients with cancer.
Patients and Methods
Patients age ≥ 65 years with a solid tumor or lymphoma completed a questionnaire that addressed these geriatric assessment domains: functional status, comorbidity, psychological state, nutritional status, and social support. Patients self-rated their level of distress on a scale of zero to 10 using a validated screening tool called the Distress Thermometer. The relationship between distress and geriatric assessment scores was examined.
Results
The geriatric assessment questionnaire was completed by 245 patients (mean age, 76 years; standard deviation [SD], 7 years; range, 65 to 95 years) with cancer (36% stage IV; 71% female). Of these, 87% also completed the Distress Thermometer, with 41% (n = 87) reporting a distress score of ≥ 4 on a scale of zero to 10 (mean score, 3; SD, 3; range, zero to 10). Bivariate analyses demonstrated an association between higher distress (≥ 4) and poorer physical function, increased comorbid medical conditions, poor eyesight, inability to complete the questionnaire alone, and requiring more time to complete the questionnaire. In a multivariate regression model based on the significant bivariate findings, poorer physical function (increased need for assistance with instrumental activities of daily living [P = .015] and lower physical function score on the Medical Outcomes Survey [P = .018]) correlated significantly with a higher distress score.
Conclusion
Significant distress was identified in 41% of older patients with cancer. Poorer physical function was the best predictor of distress. Further studies are needed to determine whether interventions that improve or assist with physical functioning can help to decrease distress in older adults with cancer.
doi:10.1200/JCO.2008.19.9463
PMCID: PMC2799049  PMID: 19652074
6.  Resident-to-Resident Aggression in Long-Term Care Facilities: An Understudied Problem 
Resident-to-resident aggression (RRA) between long-term care residents includes negative and aggressive physical, sexual, or verbal interactions that in a community setting would likely be construed as unwelcome and have high potential to cause physical or psychological distress in the recipient. Although this problem potentially has high incidence and prevalence and serious consequences for aggressors and victims, it has received little direct attention from researchers to date. This article reviews the limited available literature on this topic as well as relevant research from related areas including: resident violence toward nursing home staff, aggressive behaviors by elderly persons, and community elder abuse. We present hypothesized risk factors for aggressor, victim, and nursing home environment, including issues surrounding cognitive impairment. We discuss methodological challenges to studying RRA and offer suggestions for future research. Finally, we describe the importance of designing effective interventions, despite the lack currently available, and suggest potential areas of future research.
doi:10.1016/j.avb.2007.12.001
PMCID: PMC2741635  PMID: 19750126
aggressive behavior; nursing homes; dementia; epidemiology

Results 1-6 (6)