Online Publications

  • A polygenic score for acute vaso-occlusive pain in pediatric sickle cell disease. Individuals with monogenic disorders can experience variable phenotypes that are influenced by genetic variation. To investigate this in sickle cell disease (SCD), we performed whole-genome sequencing (WGS) of 722 individuals with hemoglobin HbSS or HbSβ0-thalassemia from Baylor College of Medicine and from the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Sickle Cell Clinical Research and Intervention Program (SCCRIP) longitudinal cohort study. We developed pipelines to identify genetic variants that modulate sickle hemoglobin polymerization in red blood cells and combined these with pain-associated variants to build a polygenic score (PGS) for acute vaso-occlusive pain (VOP). Overall, we interrogated the α-thalassemia deletion -α3.7 and 133 candidate single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across 66 genes for associations with VOP in 327 SCCRIP participants followed longitudinally over 6 years. Twenty-one SNPs in 9 loci were associated with VOP, including 3 (BCL11A, MYB, and the β-like globin gene cluster) that regulate erythrocyte fetal hemoglobin (HbF) levels and 6 (COMT, TBC1D1, KCNJ6, FAAH, NR3C1, and IL1A) that were associated previously with various pain syndromes. An unweighted PGS integrating all 21 SNPs was associated with the VOP event rate (estimate, 0.35; standard error, 0.04; P = 5.9 × 10-14) and VOP event occurrence (estimate, 0.42; standard error, 0.06; P = 4.1 × 10-13). These associations were stronger than those of any single locus. Our findings provide insights into the genetic modulation of VOP in children with SCD. More generally, we demonstrate the utility of WGS for investigating genetic contributions to the variable expression of SCD-associated morbidities. (07/2022) (link)
  • Prevalence of neuropathic pain in adolescents with sickle cell disease: A single-center experience. Abstract Background: Neuropathic pain (NP) has been previously explored in adolescents with sickle cell disease (SCD). This study aims to describe the prevalence of NP in adolescents with SCD at a single institution and to explore associated risk factors. Procedure: We used the painDETECT questionnaire, one of the few pain phenotyping questionnaires validated for adolescents. We also evaluated the relationships between painDETECT scores and frequency of acute care visits and admissions for pain in the previous 12 months, and age, respectively. Patients 12-18 years old were surveyed from June to July 2019. A retrospective approach was used to answer the remaining research questions. Results: Eighty-one and seven surveys were completed in the outpatient and inpatient settings, respectively. PainDETECT scores suggestive of NP were more prevalent in inpatient surveys than in outpatient surveys. The difference between the mean painDETECT scores of each group was significant when using a general linear mixed model. Most inpatients surveyed had ≥3 pain events in the previous 12 months. Further, older age and increased number of pain events in the previous 12 months were independently associated with higher painDETECT scores. Conclusions: Overall, in our opinion, NP is not being evaluated for and treated sufficiently in pediatric SCD, especially in the setting of inpatient acute vaso-occlusive crisis. Age and number of acute pain events/admissions in the previous 12 months can be used to identify patients likely to be at risk for NP. It is important to continue to identify NP and develop NP-targeting treatment plans. (04/2022)
  • Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for people with β-thalassaemia.  (04/2021)
  • Ketamine and lidocaine infusions decrease opioid consumption during vaso-occlusive crisis in adolescents with sickle cell disease (12/2019)
  • GSTM1 and Liver Iron Content in Children with Sickle Cell Anemia and Iron Overload (11/2019) (link)
  • Splenectomy for people with thalassaemia major or intermedia (09/2019)
  • Use of caplacizumab in a child with refractory thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (03/2019)
  • Sphingadienes show therapeutic efficacy in neuroblastoma in vitro and in vivo by targeting the AKT signaling pathway (10/2018) (link)
  • State of the Art Management of Acute Vaso-occlusive Pain in Sickle Cell Disease (02/2018)