In my work as a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Pharmacy, I have been involved in both direct patient care and clinical and translational research involving both retrospective and prospective clinical trials. My clinical training and interests have focused primarily in malignant hematology, with a specific interest in investigations of drug safety and clinical outcomes in patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Specifically, my research has focused on the clinical application of drug pharmacokinetics to individualize dosing for patients and optimize efficacy and minimize toxicities. I subsequently started a new line of inquiry in my research program, specifically to improve clinical outcomes in multiple myeloma (MM) patients. We have been able to describe several novel findings regarding the use of the alkylator drug, high dose melphalan (HDM), and autologous transplant in multiple myeloma patients including: 1) improved outcomes in African Americans receiving high dose melphalan and autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) in comparison to other groups (Sweiss et al. 2019a); 2) increased toxicity yet improved disease control in patients with renal impairment who undergo HDM (Sweiss et al., 2016); and 3) importance of pretreatment hemoglobin and creatinine clearance, known mediators of melphalan exposure, in predicting treatment-free survival in MM patients undergoing ASCT (Sweiss et al., 2019b). Some of these key observations have provided us with a strong basis for exploring a novel and more individualized melphalan dosing strategy utilizing a patient’s PK profile with the overall effort to improve outcomes after ASCT.
Karen Sweiss, PharmD
Title & Department
Clinical Assistant Professor
Department of Department of Pharmacy Practice
College of Pharmacy
Translational Oncology Program (TO)
Phone: (312) 996-0875