NIH Funds Precision Research for Childhood Cancer; Will Congress Lift Medicaid Ban for Opioid Epidemic?; FDA-Approved Breast Cancer Test May Impact Oncology Nurses
Cancer treatments aren’t one-size-fits-all, and they differ greatly depending on age. As the leading cause of disease-related death for children, pediatric cancers pose a critical threat to this population. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), one reason pediatric cancer mortality rates persist is because there’s “limited knowledge” related to the biological mechanisms affecting childhood cancers. NIH-funded studies are breaking ground and uncovering new information about the genomics of pediatric cancers.
NCI Updates Cancer Trends Progress Report
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has proactively shared new information and trends with the general public. Through its Cancer Trends Progress Report, NCI provides descriptions of research and data to help review past experiences and assist the agency in planning for future research funding.
2018 U.S. Budget Agreement Contains Key Wins for ONS—Plus an Area of Concern
The U.S. Congress continued its budget pattern in February, enacting another extension of the 2017 budget agreement into law on February 8, 2018. The current iteration of the budget law will raise caps on defense and non-defense spending over two years and keep the federal government running through March 23, but more importantly, it includes the following provisions of special interest to ONS.
Search the Literature to Critically Appraise Evidence
Changes in technology have brought about significant opportunities in how we identify and manage information. We have access to published research and clinical articles from thousands of journals to answer clinical questions. Finding the right information can be challenging, but building your skills in searching for evidence and synthesizing evidence is critical to becoming an evidence-based practice expert. Here’s how to proceed.
NIH: A Look Back at 2017 in Research
To plan for a strong future, one must understand the past. Reviewing the previous year’s accomplishments is always a good policy for reflection and improvement. It can help remind us of the accomplishments achieved in 12 short months. Such was the case at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as director Francis Collins addressed the research achievements for 2017 in his opening blog.
FDA Clears Genomic Profiling Tests for Cancer Treatment
Former National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director, Harold Varmus, when asked about cancer treatment, once said, “One of the major advances we’ve had as a result of cancer research is deep recognition of the complexity of cancer. It’s not one disease, it’s lots of different diseases. Every single cancer is different when you look at it on a genetic level.”
National Academies Explain the Public Health Consequences of E-Cigarettes
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recently released its latest report on the consequences of smoking, specifically related to electronic cigarettes. The report discusses the new effects of e-cigarettes as a public health hazard. According to the report, the effects of long-term e-cigarette use are still unknown, especially related to morbidity and mortality.
Immunotherapy Without Immune Cells May Be on the Horizon
Researchers have generated immunotherapy in the laboratory using nonimmune cells. If the findings can be translated into treatment, it may reduce some of the immune-related adverse events that patients experience with today’s cancer immunotherapy treatments. The study was reported in Nature Chemical Biology.
FDA Broadens Afatinib Indication to Previously Untreated, Metastatic NSCLC
On January 12, 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted approval to afatinib for a broadened indication in first-line treatment of patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors have non-resistant epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations as detected by an FDA-approved test.
Most Americans Are Unaware of Key Cancer Risk Factors
According to results from the first National Cancer Opinion Survey of 4,016 U.S. adults, the majority of Americans are unaware of several major risk factors for cancer, particularly obesity, which is the second-largest preventable cause of cancer in the United States, after smoking.
Discovery of Peripheral Neuropathy Cause May Lead to Preventive Treatments
Researchers have found that taxane chemotherapies such as paclitaxel impede a protein called Bclw, which leads to the side effect of peripheral neuropathy. The study results were published in Neuron.
Infection Linked to Early Mortality in Post-ASCT Multiple Myeloma
Patients with multiple myeloma are at increased risk for early death from infection after high-dose therapy and autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT), according to the results of a study published in the American Journal of Hematology.
Heart Failure Affects Long-Term Survival Among Older Women With Breast Cancer
Research has shown that women aged 65 and older who have breast cancer experience higher rates of heart failure compared to their age-matched counterparts, ranging from 29% of women with breast cancer who received no chemotherapy to 38% of women who received treatment with anthracyclines. However, little is known about the association between heart failure and long-term survival in older women with breast cancer, and it is unclear how the relative contribution of heart failure to mortality risk varies by breast cancer stage.
Patients With MM Receiving PIs Need Herpes Zoster Prophylaxis
Patients with multiple myeloma (MM) who receive proteasome inhibitors (PIs) are at an increased risk for herpes zoster infection, and National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines recommend antiviral prophylaxis for these patients. Researchers examined the use of and adherence to antiviral agents in this patient population. Siyang Leng, MD, at Columbia University Medical Center in Sunnyside, New York, discussed the findings at the ASH Annual Meeting.
Blood Test May Detect Tumor-Derived DNA in Early-Stage Cancers
Researchers have developed a test that detects tiny amounts of cancer-specific DNA in the blood and used it to accurately identify more than half of 138 people with early-stage colorectal, breast, lung, or ovarian cancers. The findings were published in Science Translational Medicine.
NCI Advancements Are Pushing Research Forward for Patients
Former U.S. Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) put partisanship aside to support federal funding for biomedical research. And, while battling cancer himself, he spoke about the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and its crucial role in finding treatments and cures. “Health is our nation’s number one asset. Without your health, you can’t do anything. I believe medical research should be pursued with all possible haste to cure the diseases and maladies affecting Americans. I have said many times that the NIH is the crown jewel of the federal government—perhaps the only jewel of the federal government.”
Using Alternative Medicine Instead of Conventional Cancer Treatments Increases Risk of Death
A large study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that patients with nonmetastatic breast, lung, or colorectal cancer who chose to use only alternative medicine had substantially worse survival than patients who received conventional cancer treatment.
Study Finds How Smoking Contributes to Epigenetics of Lung Cancer
Although cigarette use has long been linked to lung cancer, scientists have not understood how the earliest changes in lung cells developed. In a study published in Cancer Cell, researchers showed how cigarette smoke sensitized airway cells to genetic mutations that are known to cause lung cancers.
FDA Approves Sunitinib Malate for Adjuvant Treatment of Renal Cell Carcinoma
On November 16, 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved sunitinib malate (Sutent, Pfizer Inc.) for the adjuvant treatment of adult patients at high risk of recurrent renal cell carcinoma following nephrectomy.
FDA Approves Obinutuzumab for Previously Untreated Follicular Lymphoma
On November 16, 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted regular approval to obinutuzumab (Gazyva®, Genentech, Inc.) in combination with chemotherapy, followed by obinutuzumab monotherapy in patients achieving at least a partial remission, for the treatment of adult patients with previously untreated stage II bulky, III, or IV follicular lymphoma (FL).
FDA Approves Emicizumab-Kxwh for Bleeding in Patients With Hemophilia A With Factor VIII Inhibitors
On November 16, 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved emicizumab-kxwh (Hemlibra®, Genentech, Inc.) for routine prophylaxis to prevent or reduce the frequency of bleeding episodes in adult and pediatric patients with hemophilia A (congenital factor VIII deficiency) with factor VIII inhibitors.
New Imaging Better Shows Immunotherapy Results in Brain Cancer
Researchers have developed a new approach for brain imaging that can better distinguish immune responses from tumor growth in people with glioblastoma. The findings were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Safety of Medicinal Mushrooms in Patients With Cancer
Mushrooms have been valued for their health-promoting and medicinal effects for thousands of years. Research over the past few decades has focused on maitake (Grifola frondosa), reishi (Ganoderma lucidum), coriolus (Coriolus versicolor), shiitake (Lentinula edodes), and agaricus (Agaricus blazei), which are predominantly used in Asia.
FDA Approves Brentuximab Vedotin for Primary Cutaneous Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma, CD30-Expressing Mycosis Fungoides
On November 9, 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted regular approval to brentuximab vedotin (Adetris®, Seattle Genetics, Inc.) for the treatment of adult patients with primary cutaneous anaplastic large cell lymphoma (pcALCL) or CD30-expressing mycosis fungoides (MF) who have received prior systemic therapy.
FDA Funds Research Into Health Disparities
A wide gap in health disparities continues to exist in the United States, affecting countless underserved and underrepresented Americans. Despite some focus on education, assistance, and outreach, pockets of U.S. citizens are still facing healthcare challenges because of their race, socioeconomic status, location, or other disparities. Because many different factors can contribute to a person’s health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is dedicating research funding to learn more about how people’s life situations have an impact on their overall health.
Lancet Oncology Commission Releases Cancer Research Priorities
The future of oncology care hinges on the implementation of new sciences, the collaboration of researchers, and timeliness with which healthcare professionals can integrate change into practice, according to a new report released by Lancet Oncology.
Height and Weight May Be Linked to Aggressive Prostate Cancer
Taller men and those with a higher body mass index (BMI) may be at increased risk for high-grade prostate cancer and disease-related mortality, according to the results of a study published in BMC Medicine.
Women Respond Better to Esophageal Cancer Treatment
Women with locally advanced esophageal cancer that is treated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy before surgery are more likely to have a favorable response to their cancer treatment and less likely to have recurrence than men are, according to the results of a study published in Annals of Thoracic Surgery.
What the Next Phase of the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative Means for Oncology Nurses
In one bold declaration during his final State of the Union Address in 2016, President Barack Obama raised our hopes to a singular goal—ending cancer as we know it—as he announced the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative, now called the Biden Cancer Initiative. Grounded in real research with tangible results, the intent was not even that daring: it was more realistic. Eradicating cancer, now understood to be many different aspects of the same disease, in five years was unlikely, but rather the goal was to achieve in five years what previously would take a decade.
Researchers Map More Than 760 Cancer-Dependent Genes
In an effort to build a comprehensive catalog of genetic causes of cancer, researchers from Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Broad Institute as well as Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have identified more than 760 genes that cells from multiple types of cancer depend on for growth and survival. The findings were published in Cell.
FDA Grants Accelerated Approval to Nivolumab for HCC
On September 22, 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval to nivolumab for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in patients who have been previously treated with sorafenib.
FDA Grants Accelerated Approval to Pembrolizumab for Advanced Gastric Cancer
On September 22, 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted accelerated approval to pembrolizumab (Ketruda®) for patients with recurrent locally advanced or metastatic, gastric or gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma whose tumors express PD-L1 as determined by an FDA-approved test. Patients must have had disease progression on or after two or more prior systemic therapies, including fluoropyrimidine- and platinum-containing chemotherapy and, if appropriate, HER2/neu-targeted therapy.
Dendritic Cell Vaccine Uses Immune System to Fight NSCLC
A new study testing a dendritic cell vaccine for the first time in humans to treat non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has shown that it successfully amplifies the immune system to boost the effectiveness of anti-PD-1 immunotherapies against the cancer. The findings were published in Clinical Cancer Research.
Oncology Nurses Drive Change In Cancer Care With Clinical Trials
Clinical trials are responsible for discovering new treatments for cancer as well as the continued evolution of standards of care in clinical practice. Nationally, less than 5% of all eligible adult patients with cancer enroll in clinical trials. Additionally, it takes a drug an average of six to eight years from when it is first introduced in trials to become fully available to all patients who could benefit from it.
The Difference Between Quality Improvement, Evidence-Based Practice, and Research
As healthcare institutions become ever more complex and our focus on patient experience expands, nurses are leading and participating in research studies, evidence-based practice (EBP) projects, and quality improvement (QI) initiatives with a goal of improving patient outcomes. Research, EBP, and QI have subtle differences and frequent overlap, which can make it a challenge for nurses to identify the best option to investigating a clinical problem.
Patient-Provider Communication on Immunotherapy Can Be Improved
Guidelines regarding healthcare provider communication about immunotherapy do not currently exist. Researchers sought to determine patient and provider preferences for this type of information and to identify barriers to communication about immunotherapy. The study’s findings were presented at the 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting.
FDA Funds Research Into Health Disparities
Disparities continue to create a wide gap in health in the United States. Many factors can contribute to a person’s health, and we still have much to learn about the issue. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced it will be dedicating research funding to find out more about how lifestyle impacts health.
Nurse Becomes Acting Surgeon General; Representative Roybal-Allard Calls for Funding Scientific Research; Gottlieb Nomination for FDA Commissioner Sent to Senate
After former President Obama’s surgeon general was asked to resign by the Trump administration, the White House appointed Rear Admiral Sylvia Trent-Adams, PhD, RN, FAAN, as acting surgeon general.
Annual Cancer Report Identifies Significant Increases in Survival
As part of its Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer for 1975-2014, a group of organizations and agencies identified significant increases in cancer survival in the United States, with survival rates more than doubling for eight cancers.
FDA Announces Oncology Center of Excellence
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced, through the Office of Health and Constituent Affairs, that it has established the Oncology Center of Excellence (OCE). Longtime FDA official, Richard Pazdur, MD, has been named to lead the division as its first director. The OCE will make oncology “the first disease area to have a coordinated clinical review of drugs, biologics and devices across the agency’s three medical product centers,” according to the FDA.
Increasing Adult BMI May Raise Risk of Fatal Prostate Cancer
Men whose body mass index (BMI) increases to obesity during adulthood may have a higher risk of fatal prostate cancer, according to the results of a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
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.
The Evolving Role of Oncology Nurse Navigators
Care coordination is an integral component of every oncology nurse’s job, but the specific role of oncology nurse navigator (ONN) was developed to help address certain barriers to care, including difficulty navigating the healthcare system, poor communication, and lack of resources.
Cancer Cells May Use Neutrophil Traps to Metastasize
Previous research has linked neutrophils to cancer metastasis, but a new study published in Science Translational Medicine may have uncovered more information about why this happens.
The study’s researchers found that neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), which the immune system normally uses to kill harmful pathogens, may help metastatic cancer cells form new tumors in other parts of the body.
New Genetic Test May Predict High-Risk Cervical Cancer
A new genetic test that analyzes multiple sources of DNA may be able to detect high-risk cervical cancer more accurately than other available tests: it showed 90.9% sensitivity in identifying cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 2 lesions. The findings from the proof-of-concept study were reported in Cancer Prevention Research.