FDA Approves Avelumab for Treatment of Patients With Metastatic Merkel Cell Carcinoma
On March 23, 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval to avelumab (Bavencio, EMD Serono, Inc.) for the treatment of adults and pediatric patients 12 years and older with metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC). Avelumab is a programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) blocking human IgG1 lambda monoclonal antibody. This is the first FDA-approved product to treat this type of cancer.
Physical Activity, Psychological Care Reduce Cancer-Related Fatigue
Physical activity, by itself or in combination with psychological care, was found to be most successful at reducing cancer-related fatigue (CRF) in patients, according to a study published in JAMA. The researchers compared the efficacy of four different types of CRF treatments—exercise, the combination of exercise and psychological treatments, psychological treatments alone, and pharmaceutical treatments—to determine the most effective treatment for CRF.
Trump Budget Proposal Cuts Healthcare Spending, Research; GOP’s Healthcare Bill Faces Stiff Resistance
On March 15, 2017, the Trump administration released its first budget proposal, slashing federal spending in many areas of health care, education, environmental protection, and the sciences while increasing funding for defense and homeland security. The proposed budget would decrease spending for the Department of Health and Human Services by nearly 18%, which includes a 20% budget cut for the National Institutes of Health (NIH)—a decrease of nearly $6 billion. This stands to impact a number of cancer-related research programs developing new treatments and drugs through NIH funding.
Ibrutinib May Improve GVHD Symptoms
Results from a new clinical trial have shown that the targeted therapy drug ibrutinib, a BTK inhibitor, can effectively treat graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), a common complication from allogeneic stem cell transplants. The study findings were reported at the American Society of Hematology’s 2016 annual meeting.
Safety Procedures for Live-Virus Immunotherapeutic Cancer Vaccines
Therapeutic vaccines represent a new way of fighting tumors by stimulating a patient’s immune system to attack cancer cells. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has currently approved two of these types of vaccines: sipuleucel-T for metastatic prostate cancer and talimogene laherparepvec for metastatic melanoma. However, many other cancer vaccines are being investigated in clinical trials.
NCI Cancer Moonshot Funds Researchers
After the dust settled from the presidential election, Congress returned to Washington to complete some remaining legislative work before the new year. Among the newly approve legislation, the 21st Century Cures Act was passed, and it aims to have major implications for expanding oncology research in the coming months and years.
U.S. Cancer Mortality Rates Differ Across Country
Although U.S. cancer rates between 1980 and 2014 have fallen overall, there are parts of the country that have not seen a decrease. This information was reported in a new study conducted by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. The researchers found that cancer deaths fell 20 percent between 1980 and 2014, but that in some areas of the country the mortality rates increased.
Advancements in Immunotherapy, Genetics Lead ASCO’s Annual Progress Report
Every year, oncology research marches toward new, innovative treatments for patients suffering from cancer. Cancer research is a cumulative process—building upon itself year after year—but, with time, major changes begin to make their way into practices across the country. Some of these advancements stand to change the face of cancer treatment for years to come. In a field of constant evolution, oncology nurses and their colleagues need to stay abreast of developments in science and technology as new knowledge is uncovered in the treatment of cancer.
ONS Member Meneses Named UAB’s 2016 Distinguished Faculty Lecturer
After more than 40 years as an oncology educator, researcher, and nurse, ONS member Karen Meneses, PhD, RN, FAAN, has been named the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s (UAB’s) 2016 Distinguished Faculty Lecturer. This is the highest honor given at the university, and Meneses is only the second nurse from UAB’s school of nursing to ever receive the honor.
CD36 Protein and Dietary Fat May Combine to Increase Cancer Metastasis
New research published in Nature may have identified one way cancer cells metastasize to spread and resist treatment. The study showed how a cancer protein interacts with dietary fat to facilitate metastasis and may pave the way for new cancer therapies.