Standard measures for sickle cell disease research: the PhenX Toolkit sickle cell disease collections

Blood Adv. 2017 Dec 15;1(27):2703-2711. doi: 10.1182/bloodadvances.2017010702. eCollection 2017 Dec 26.


Standard measures and common data elements for sickle cell disease (SCD) will improve the data quality and comparability necessary for cross-study analyses and the development of guidelines that support effective treatments and interventions. In 2014, the National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) funded an Administrative Supplement to the PhenX Toolkit (consensus measures for Phenotypes and eXposures; to identify common measures to promote data comparability across SCD research. An 11-member Sickle Cell Disease Research and Scientific Panel provided guidance to the project, establishing a core collection of SCD-related measures and defining the scope of 2 specialty collections: (1) cardiovascular, pulmonary, and renal complications, and (2) neurology, quality-of-life, and health services. For each specialty collection, a working group of SCD experts selected high-priority measures using a consensus process that included scientific community input. The SCD measures were released into the Toolkit in August 2015. The 25 measures included in the core collection are recommended for use by all NHLBI-funded investigators performing human-subject SCD research. The 10 neurology, quality-of-life, and health services measures and 14 cardiovascular, pulmonary, and renal measures are recommended for use within these specialized research areas. For SCD and other researchers, PhenX measures will promote collaborations with clinicians and patients, facilitate cross-study analysis, accelerate translational research, and lead to greater understanding of SCD phenotypes and epigenetics. For clinicians, using PhenX measures will help elucidate the etiology, progression, and treatment of SCD, leading to improved patient care and quality of life.