Current Projects

ATSDR is conducting 15 projects in partnership with universities, private companies, and state agencies. These projects were based on the recommendations from an expert panel which identified four areas for investigation:

Polycythemia Vera Investigation portfolio

Comparative Epidemiologic Study
University of Pittsburgh

This study compared the pattern of PV in an area of Pennsylvania where people have similar characteristics (such as age and race) to people in the tri-county/cluster area. The study was conducted in Blair, Somerset, Cambria, and Bedford counties in southwest Pennsylvania.

Enhancement of Physician Reporting of Hematologic Cancers
CDC’s National Program of Cancer Registries

This study aimed to improve physicians’ reporting of PV and other blood cancers to central cancer registries. CDC funded three state cancer registries to evaluate and improve the way that doctors’ offices report PV and other blood cancers. The project evaluated diagnosis and reporting practices, increased physician awareness of reporting requirements and processes, and built an infrastructure for electronic reporting of blood cancers from hematology practices.

Patterns of PV Diagnosis and Reporting
Geisinger Health Systems

Using medical records of patients with a diagnosis of PV, this study determined if the diagnosis was correct, if the cases were reported to the cancer registry, and if the doctor used the JAK2V617F test to help diagnose PV.

Tri-County Case Control Study
Drexel University

This study aimed to identify risk factors that might be linked to developing PV, ET, and PMF for persons living in the cluster area.

Tri-County MPN Surveillance
University of Pittsburgh

This surveillance study aimed to determine how complete and accurate reporting to the Pennsylvania Cancer Registry is in the tri-county area for MPNs (specifically, PV, ET, PMF, chronic myelogenous leukemia, and MPN, not otherwise specified).

Cytogenetic Analysis
Mt. Sinai School of Medicine

The cytogenetic study is assessing if PV patients living in the cluster area are genetically prone to develop the disease.

Gene Profiling Study
Mt. Sinai School of Medicine

This study is investigating if specific genes are “up” or “down” regulated in patients with PV. Samples from PV patients in the cluster area were compared to other PV patients who live elsewhere and also to non-diseased individuals.

JAK2V617F Mutation-Positive Non-MPN Person Follow-Up Study
Geisinger Health Systems

This study monitored the levels of the JAK2V617F mutation in participants identified during ATSDR’s community health screening. More than 1,000 community members participated in this health screening in 2010. JAK2V617F-positivie participants were evaluated twice yearly, including testing of how much JAK2V617F mutation was in their bodies. Participants were evaluated for at least three years.

NHANES JAK2V617F Prevalence Study
Mt. Sinai School of Medicine and CDC/ATSDR

This study is using samples from CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to estimate the percent of people in the U.S. population who have the JAK2V617F mutation.

Pennsylvania JAK2V617F Prevalence Study
Geisinger Health Systems

This study is determining what percentage of a select population of people in Pennsylvania has the JAK2V617F mutation. The study evaluated about 6,000 people living outside the cluster area and 1,500 people living within the cluster area.

Tissue Bank
Myeloproliferative Disease Research Consortium

The objective of this project was to collect and store tissue samples from patients with MPN disorders. The sample collection period ended in 2014, but the donations will continue to be available for researchers to access via the Myeloproliferative Disease Research Consortium (MPD-RC).

Toxicological Assay
Mt. Sinai School of Medicine

This study is evaluating whether 18 environmental contaminants that were historically present in the PV cluster area can cause DNA damage.

Environmental Studies
Environmental Exposure Assessment
Equity Environmental Engineering

This study examined potential contamination of drinking water and air that might be linked to the higher-than-expected rate of PV cases in the tri-county area. Researchers assessed the potential exposures of cluster-area residents to present and past contamination.

ATSDR-PAPV Environmental Data Warehouse

This purpose of this project was to develop a database containing federal, state, and other relevant data and documents about contaminants from hazardous waste sites and other operations, industries, or businesses that release toxic material within the cluster area.

Environmental Testing
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

This project collected more data about contaminants in the water flowing out of the McAdoo Superfund site and in monitoring wells near three waste coal burning plants. This project also collected environmental contaminant levels inside and outside of homes in the cluster area. Testing included homes of people with a PV diagnosis and people who do not have PV.

Page last reviewed: July 24, 2020