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Research

Designing effective, affordable systems of care

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Curiosity is a hallmark value across ChristianaCare. 

We continually look for ways to innovate, for ways to fulfill our promise to seek new knowledge for the love of health. Our innovative approaches to care and transformational research drive lasting change in patients’ lives and propel science’s understanding and treatment of disease.

Face down for better outcomes

Worldwide, often-fatal acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is thought to be responsible for 10% of all intensive care unit admissions. Research shows ARDS patients have better outcomes when positioned prone, or face down, instead of supine, or face up. A recent article by ChristianaCare’s Dannette Mitchell, MSN, and Maureen A. Seckel, MSN, in the American Association of Critical Care Nurses’ Advanced Critical Care journal outlines how we’ve updated our ARDS procedures and created standard of care prone positioning interdisciplinary guidelines for all adult critical care units.

Gene editing on a chip

Using once unimaginable technology, ChristianaCare’s Gene Editing Institute and Israeli biotech company NovellusDx have launched a breakthrough CRISPR gene-editing tool that offers radical new promise in the treatment of cancer. In just 24 hours, NovellusDx technology uses computer algorithms and live cells to rapidly probe genetic mutations in a patient’s cancer tumor. The process identifies so-called “driver mutations” that are most closely involved in cancer progression. The technology also screens different cancer drugs to determine which are likely to be most effective at shutting down driver mutations.

$25 million to excel at accelerating science

ChristianaCare and four partners will share a five-year $25 million grant renewal to support research that advances medical science and transforms health care delivery. Since 2013, ChristianaCare has been part of Delaware’s Center for Translational Research ACCEL Program — ACCEL stands for “accelerating clinical and translational research” — a University of Delaware led collaborative of public research institutions. The recent grant award — $20 million from the National Institutes of Health and $5 million from the state of Delaware — will continue the collaborative through 2023.

Our research has a laser focus on improving health outcomes, and ACCEL helps us take our results from the bench to both the bedside and the community.

Ken Silverstein, M.D., MBA

Executive Vice President & Chief Clinical Officer

With this tool, we can use a DNA sample as a blank canvas, where we can reproduce an individual patient’s specific tumor mutations in just 24 hours. And then NovellusDx can integrate this DNA sample into its diagnostic platform, which could be a major advance for personalized cancer care.”

Eric Kmiec, Ph.D.

DIRECTOR OF THE GENE EDITING INSTITUTE

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Hope in the fight against rare tumors

In exciting news for patients with certain rare cancers, the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute is one of the first sites in the country approved to offer peptide receptor radionuclide therapy, a form of targeted therapy tailored to a person’s individual molecular makeup.

The new treatment for adults with advanced, cancerous neuroendocrine tumors that develop in the pancreas and gastrointestinal tract uses the drug Lutathera. Clinical trials in 229 patients showed nearly 80% of patients receiving Lutathera survived for much longer periods of time without tumor growth compared to patients receiving the standard of care.

13% of patients on Lutathera experienced complete or partial tumor shrinkage

The gift of understanding cancer

Two gifts from the Lisa Dean Moseley Foundation will advance critical stem cell cancer research at the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute. Jennifer Sims-Mourtada, Ph.D., director of Translational Breast Cancer Research at the center, received a $659,538 grant to further her research on inflammation as a driver of triple-negative breast cancer, a particularly difficult cancer to treat. Bruce Boman, M.D., Ph.D., received a $914,577 grant for his work to understand the dysregulated cellular mechanisms that cause stem cell overpopulation, which drives colon tumor development.

Testing to catch breast cancer sooner

Good news for women across our region: ChristianaCare is expanding genetic counseling and testing for early onset, triple negative and HER2 negative metastatic breast cancers. Our Familial Cancer Risk Assessment Program, part of the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute, received a $150,000 grant from the Association of Community Cancer Centers in partnership with Pfizer Global Medical Grants to expand counseling and BRCA — BReast CAncer gene — testing for women, especially underserved minorities who are at greater risk for triple-negative breast cancer.

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Pumping iron for heart failure

Across the U.S. more than 5 million people live with heart failure. ChristianaCare’s Center for Heart & Vascular Health is conducting research to determine the efficacy and safety of iron therapy using intravenous ferric carboxymaltose when treating patients in heart failure with iron deficiency and a reduced ejection fraction.

Proven approach tested with new patients

The CardioMEMS HF System is currently used to wirelessly measure pulmonary artery pressure and heart rate to guide heart failure (HF) management in NYHA Class III HF patients who have been hospitalized for HF in the previous year. The GUIDE-HF trial will evaluate the use of the CardioMEMS HF System for wirelessly measuring pulmonary artery pressure in patients for whom the approach isn’t currently used.

OPTIMIZE research to optimize heart and vascular care

ChristianaCare is participating in OPTIMIZE, a landmark study in interventional radiology. The multicenter clinical trial is evaluating the safety and effectiveness of the Svelte Drug-Eluting Stent Integrated Delivery System and Rapid Exchange platforms. These novel approaches to coronary stenting are shown to improve procedure efficiency and reduce costs, while also enhancing patient outcomes and comfort.

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Anemia’s impact

ChristianaCare was part of a groundbreaking study — the second largest ever — of the impact anemia has on pregnant women in India and Pakistan. Analyzing records of slightly more than 100,000 women, the research found anemia is very common in this group of women, and severe anemia was associated with stillbirth, preterm birth and neonatal mortality.

Inducing early for better outcomes

ChristianaCare participated in a landmark research trial that showed inducing labor at 39 weeks actually decreases the risk of cesarean delivery, reduces incidences of preeclampsia (a common pregnancy complication) and tends to be associated with better newborn outcomes.

Curbing post-hysterectomy opioid prescribing

In an effort to offset opioid use and misuse after surgery, ChristianaCare conducted a meta-analysis on the prescribing of opioids following hysterectomy. Our research shows a wide variability in how physicians approach postoperative pain. The study also indicates an opportunity to develop guidelines for post-hysterectomy opioid prescribing that would help decrease the availability of opioids.

Why do we innovate and conduct research? FOR THE LOVE OF HEALTH TM

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