The American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy (ASTCT) and the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR) outlined today their guidelines and measures for combating the spread of COVID-19, while providing protection to transplant patients. The guidelines and measures include new practices for data collection, sharing of information, and administrative relief for facilities impacted by COVID-19 precautions.
The ASTCT and CIBMTR work hand-in-hand to collect and share data used to improve both quality of transplant care and survivability. Among the new measures to help combat COVID-19 is the introduction of the CIBMTR Respiratory Virus Post-Infusion Data Form (2149). This form collects detailed data regarding the diagnosis, treatment, and outcome of COVID-19 infections.
“We urge all participating facilities to make the best effort to secure consent and enrollment of patients in our databases,” said the CIBMTR’s Chief Scientific Director and Professor of Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Mary Horowitz, MD, MS. “The data we collect is invaluable in the fight against COVID-19 and in promoting patient health. We’ve already used CIBMTR data to examine several issues related to COVID-19 that are important for patient care during the pandemic.”
CIBMTR reporting does not require any patient contact beyond what is necessary for clinical care, and the consent form is usually administered by clinicians at the time the patient signs the general consent for treatment.
To help caregivers protect their patients, the ASTCT and CIBMTR are sharing data on COVID-19 and providing regularly updated guidelines addressing the management, treatment, and outcomes of patients. They are also sharing knowledge through informational webinars, online meetings, and other methods as circumstances allow. Through this research and education, the ASTCT and CIBMTR are informing patient care and management; including the biologic, economic, and logistical aspects of care.
“The best and fastest way for us to fight COVID-19 is through innovative research and care delivery,” said Pavan Reddy, MD, ASTCT President and Chief of Hematology and Oncology at the University of Michigan. “Understanding the disease in transplant patients offers unique clinical and biological insights that can lead to greater understanding of the disease in the general population.”
In addition to collecting data and sharing knowledge, the ASTCT and CIBMTR are easing administrative requirements to provide impacted clinics with additional flexibility. This includes postponing on-site data audits and the relaxation of deadlines for forms submission.
The ASTCT and CIBMTR are committed to addressing challenges facing transplant patients, and the COVID-19 pandemic was a considerable topic of discussion during the organization’s combined annual event, Transplantation & Cellular Therapy Meetings (TCT Meetings), held in February 2020. During the meetings, each organization transitioned leadership as they forged ahead in the fight against COVID-19. New leaders for each organization are as follows:
- President – Pavan Reddy, MD, Frances and Victor Ginsberg Professor and Chief of Hematology and Oncology and Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan
- President Elect – Stella Davies MBBS, PhD, MRCP Director, Division of Bone Marrow Transplantation and Immune Deficiency Institute Co-Director, Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute, Jacob G. Schmidlapp Endowed Chair Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics
- Vice President – Brenda Sandmaier, MD, Professor Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutch
- Secretary – Parameswaran Hari, MD, MRCP, Armand J. Quick/William F. Stapp Professor of Hematology, Chief in the Division of Hematology and Oncology, Medical College of Wisconsin
- Director at Large – Eneida Namecek, MD, MS, MBA, Professor of Medicine, Professor of Pediatrics, Medical Director for Clinical Research, OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, School of Medicine
- Director of Laboratory Sciences – Leslie Kean, MD, PhD, Director, Stem Cell Transplant Center, DanaFarber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, Robert A. Stranahan Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School
- Director of Community or Clinical Practice – Shalini Shenoy, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, Division Hematology/Oncology, Washington University School of Medicine
- ASTCT Giving Campaign Chair – Navneet Majhail, MD, MS, Director Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at Cleveland Clinic’s Taussig Cancer Institute
- Associate Chief Scientific Director – Bronwen Shaw, MD, PhD, Professor of Hematology & Oncology, Medical College of Wisconsin (to assume Chief Scientific Director role in February 2021)
- Chief Scientific Director (continuing 30-year tenure in this role until February 2021) – Mary Horowitz, MD, MS, Robert A. Uihlein Professor of Hematologic Research and Chief of the Division of Hematology and Oncology at the Froedtert and Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Center, will remain with the organization, focusing on work with the Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network (BMT CTN) in 2021
- Chair of the CIBMTR Advisory Committee – John Wingard, MD, Deputy Director of the University of Florida Health Cancer Center and Director of the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program in the Division of Hematology and Oncology
- Immediate Past Chair of the CIBMTR Advisory Committee – Robert Soiffer, MD, Professor, Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Chief, Division of Hematologic Malignancies, Medicine, Brigham And Women's Hospital