CARRA Newsletter-September 2017 Issue 1


What Caught My Eye: Breaking the Seal on P Values

Jay Mehta, MD, MS
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

When I was in medical school, there was a saying: “P = M.D.” In this case, “P” referred to a passing grade and this was usually said late at night while studying for a major test. The point was that all we needed to do was pass the test and we’d be ok in our quest to graduate from medical school. A passing grade was sufficient. There was no need to aim higher than that.

In biomedical research, the lower case “p” increasingly seems to represent a similar low bar for achievement. More and more, it seems “p<0.05 = publication = fact.” Last year, a group of researchers published an article in JAMA looking at the trend in p value reporting over the last 25 years. Through an impressive feat of text mining, they looked at over 5 million abstracts and found that from 1990 to 2014, the reporting of p values in abstracts more than doubled, that the vast majority of articles that reported p values had at least one “statistically significant” result, and that, over time, the best (most significant) p value got lower (more significant). Very few papers reported on effect sizes or confidence intervals.

The authors suggest that this finding of lower p values over time could reflect the current “publish-or-perish” environment or the increasing tendency to test more hypotheses at one time. Perhaps, the authors say, the “p<0.05” threshold has lost its ability to distinguish false from true hypotheses and that a more stringent threshold is needed.

If you would like to contribute an article (related to pediatric rheumatology research) to our newsletter, we would love to hear from you! Please email [email protected] with details.

CARRA Names Grant Scientific Review Committee (SRC) Chair

We received an enthusiastic response to our call for SRC member applications and are excited to announce that Terry L. Moore, MD, FACP, FAAP, MACR, has been selected as the inaugural chair for CARRA’s SRC.  Dr. Terry Moore has been a faculty member at Saint Louis University School of Medicine and has served as a Director of the Division of Adult Rheumatology and Pediatric Rheumatology since 1983. He has risen to the position of Professor of Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, and Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Medical School. He received the award of Master of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR)/Research Education Foundation (REF), the highest honor bestowed on a member of the ACR/REF. He is presently one of 10 Rheumatology Division Director’s across the country to be named as a member of the ACR Director’s Task Force/Director’s Special Committee to guide the ACR in the upcoming years.

Predicting Response of Methotrexate Treatment (PROMOTE)

Congratulations to Mara Becker (Children’s Mercy Hospital) and Susan Thompson (Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center) who were awarded a five year, $2.8 million grant by the National institute of Child Health and Development (1R01HD089928) for their project entitled, “Identifying Pharmacogenomic Predictors of Methotrexate Response and Metabolite Biotransformation in JIA” or “PROMOTE”.  The overarching goal of PROMOTE is to support rational, data driven therapeutic decisions in JIA.

The specific aims of PROMOTE are:

  1. To determine the genetic contribution to clinical drug response.
  2. To understand the genetic contribution to cellular biomarkers of drug response.
  3. To develop a predictive algorithm to inform MTX use in the clinic.

Sample collection for PROMOTE started last month. Through the STOP-JIA study, sites are collecting DNA at baseline and 6 months in mitra tubes which are shipped to the lab along with rest of the STOP-JIA biosample collection protocol.

Registry Update

Site Highlights

  • University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics: Enrolled their 400th CARRA Registry patient!
  • Hackensack University Medical Center: Collected their first PROMOTE sample!
  • IWK Health Center: Enrolled their first FROST patient!
  • Children’s Hospital at Montefiore: Enrolled their first FROST patient!

Enrollment Update (as of 9/8/17)

Announcements and Reminders

CARRA Large and Small Grant Application Deadline is coming up!

October 2, 2017 is the deadline for both small (up to $25k) and large (up to $50k) grant applications. Submit your grant applications through the new CARRA Grant Submission System by visiting the Grants & Funding page on the CARRA website. When accessing the submission system, you will be asked to login using the same username and password used for renewing your membership and/or registering for the 2017 Annual Meeting. Please note: This may be different than your login credentials for the Members-Only Collaboration Site (Wiki). If you have difficulty logging in, please contact Brian Mondragón Jones ([email protected]) in the CARRA Administrative Office. If you have questions about grant eligibility, contact Kelly at [email protected].

CARRA Meetings at ACR 2017

The 2017 ACR Meeting takes place November 3-8 in San Diego, CA at the San Diego Convention Center. Below are some CARRA related meetings in San Diego. Unless otherwise noted, all CARRA activities will take place at the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego, 207 Fifth Ave. San Diego, CA 92101. In order to attend the meetings below, you will need to register through CARRA’s online registration system which will go live for the San Diego meetings in the coming weeks. Be sure to keep an eye out for an announcement.

Sunday, November 5

CARRA Early Investigator Networking Happy Hour
6:30 PM (Location TBD)

Monday, November 6

CARRA Research Coordinator Breakfast Meeting
7:00 AM

CARRA CRMO/CNO Workgroup Meeting
12:30-2:30 PM

CARRA Meeting and Reception
6:30-10:00 PM

Call for New Project Posters for the CARRA Reception

If you have new research project you are interested in promoting, or a project for which you would like to recruit volunteers or additional committee members, we invite you to display a poster with information about your project during the reception and be available to discuss with reception attendees. Contact Brian Mondragón Jones ([email protected]) for more information.

Do You Have Good News to Share?
If you are a CARRA member and have a professional achievement (new grant awarded, a CARRA publication) you would like to share with our readership, please email the details to [email protected] with the subject “CARRA Newsletter Announcement for Consideration.”

Arthritis Foundation Updates


JA Power Packs

The Arthritis Foundation’s JA Power Pack is a toolkit with useful information and tools to assist newly-diagnosed children and teens, as well as their parents. These resources were designed to give you and your family the power to make living with JA easier. Knowing what to expect and how to deal with it is the key to better living with JA.

Please encourage your newly-diagnosed patients and families to order a JA Power Pack in one of the following ways:

  • Call the Arthritis Foundation toll-free number, 1-800-283-7800 to place an order
  • Obtain an order form from their care provider and return to the Arthritis Foundation Office printed on the form
  • Complete an updated order form during their clinic visit so their care provider can send to the Arthritis Foundation office
  • Call their local Arthritis Foundation office and order over the phone

Health Care Providers can request a tear-off pad of JA Power Pack order forms by contacting the Arthritis Foundation local office in your area.  You can find your local office here.

Arthritis Foundation Local Leadership Boards

In communities nationwide, the Arthritis Foundation is working with local volunteers to build Leadership Boards to achieve our goals in fundraising, volunteer engagement, advocacy, juvenile arthritis and other pediatric rheumatic diseases, and help and support. To get involved on your Local Leadership Board, please contact your local Arthritis Foundation staff.