The Time Is Now to Address Racial Disparities in Oncology Symptom Science
Although cancer mortality in the United States has decreased in most populations, non-Whites still have a disproportionately higher risk, and recent events have raised awareness of racial healthcare disparities. During a session on April 29, 2021, for the ONS 46th Annual Congress™, Margaret Quinn Rosenzweig, PhD, FNP-BC, AOCNP®, FAAN, of the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, Susan G. Dorsey, PhD, RN, FAAN, of the University of Maryland School of Nursing, and Angela Starkweather, PhD, ACNP-BC, FAAN, FAANP, of the University of Connecticut School of Nursing and School of Medicine, explored the application of the symptom science model to address the needs of underrepresented patients.
How to Overcome Underrepresentation in Oncology Clinical Trials and Research Studies
For the findings to be usable, healthcare research clinical trials must accrue participants that accurately represent the general population to which the study applies. But that’s easier said than done. During a session on April 27, 2021, for the 46th Annual ONS Congress™, two oncology nurse scientists shared strategies that other researchers can use to overcome disparities in clinical trial study populations.
What We Learned When Adjusting Protocols to Conduct Remote Oncology Research
When the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic pushed oncology research to a remote, virtual format, the sudden adjustment was, in many ways, more convenient and more effective, but it also posed several challenges. During a presentation on April 27, 2021, for the 46th Annual ONS Congress™, two nurse researchers shared the lessons they learned when they adjusted their research protocols.
PhD-DNP Collaboration Offers Opportunities to Translate Scientific Research into Practice
Combining the research and education components of a PhD program with the clinical practice components of a doctor of nurse practice (DNP) program completes the evidence-to-practice spectrum. It improves evidence-based care and provides outcomes to fuel future research and education. On April 20, 2021, speakers at the 46th Annual ONS Congress™ explained how their institutions created collaborative models that are now a standard component of DNP and PhD programs.
NCI Uses Federal Funds to Increase Grant Paylines for Emerging Nurse Researchers
When the U.S. Congress passed the FY 2021 funding bill at the end of 2020, it recommitted its dedication to cancer research by increasing the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute’s (NCI’s) budget by $120 million.
Research Validates Tools to Increase Screening in Communities of Color
Reduced adherence to recommended screening and prevention relates to a lack of knowledge and barriers like inadequate insurance, low engagement with primary care, time constraints, and misconceptions about risks of screening or their individual risk of developing cancer. We must do a better job of educating people about cancer screening and linking them to affordable or free services.
Did the Cancer Moonshot Initiative Make 10 Years of Cancer Research Progress in 5 Years?
When the Obama administration announced the National Cancer Moonshot in January 2016, its goal was to invest $1 billion in cancer research to make a decade’s worth of discoveries in just five years. The funding was distributed across the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Department of Defense, and Department of Veterans Affairs to propel the Moonshot forward.
Fear of Recurrence May Actually Contribute to Cancer Recurrence
Stress, such as fear and worry about cancer coming back or many other life burdens and concerns, may activate dormant cancer cells remaining in the body to form tumors again, researchers reported in Science Translational Medicine.
U.S. Sees Another Record-Breaking Decrease in Cancer Deaths, but Disparities Remain
Cancer-related mortality fell by 2.4% from 2017–2018, the largest-ever one-year drop in cancer deaths and a continuation of the downward trend the United States has seen since 1991, the American Cancer Society (ACS) reported in Cancer Facts and Figures, 2021.
NCI Gives a Midpoint Progress Update on the Cancer Moonshot
During his final State of the Union address in January 2016, former President Barack Obama appointed Joe Biden the lead on a new initiative: the National Cancer Moonshot. The goal was to find treatments, cures, and more understanding about cancer—a decade’s worth of progress in just five years.
How Can Innovation and Opportunity Guide a Career in Nursing Research?
“Nursing is at the forefront of symptom management, and nurse-designed interventions lead the way,” Gwen Wyatt, RN, PhD, FAAN, FAPOS, recipient of the 2020 ONS Distinguished Nurse Researcher Award, said in a session at the inaugural ONS BridgeTM virtual conference in September 2020. She shared lessons from her career journey and told nurses that ONS can help them get their ideas “off the drawing board.”
FDA Approves Crizotinib for Children and Young Adults With Relapsed or Refractory, Systemic ALK-Positive Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma
On January 14, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved crizotinib (Xalkori®) for pediatric patients aged one year or older and young adults with relapsed or refractory, systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) that is anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) positive. The safety and efficacy of crizotinib have not been established in older adults with relapsed or refractory, systemic ALK-positive ALCL.
Genomics Provides Insight on Exceptionally Responding Patients
Patients with cancer who experience unexpected and long-lasting treatment outcomes are considered exceptional responders, but researchers and clinicians had no insight as to why the patients did so well with treatment. Results of a new study now show that genomic characterizations of cancer can uncover genetic alterations that may contribute to the phenomenon, researchers reported in Cancer Cell.
How COVID-19 May Increase Access to and Reduce Disparities in Cancer Clinical Trials
To improve clinical trial availability, effectiveness, and diversity in the era of the COVID-19 coronavirus, National Cancer Institute (NCI)-funded clinical trials should adjust their design to increase use of telemedicine and remote informed consent, among other strategies, several NCI department leaders wrote in a commentary in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
NCI Links Persistent Poverty to Increased Cancer Mortality
Where a person lives has the biggest impact on their healthcare accessibility and affordability. In a new study, researchers from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) found strong correlation between persistent poverty and cancer mortality in the United States, NCI’s Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS) reported in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention.
FDA Grants Accelerated Approval to Naxitamab for High-Risk Neuroblastoma in Bone or Bone Marrow
On November 25, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval to naxitamab (Danyelza®) in combination with granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor for pediatric patients one year of age and older and adult patients with relapsed or refractory high-risk neuroblastoma in the bone or bone marrow who demonstrate a partial response, minor response, or stable disease to prior therapy.
What the Evidence Says for Cannabis in Cancer Care
An annual flowering herb native to East Asia, Cannabis sativa is cultivated around the world. It is used in traditional medicine as an analgesic, hypnotic, hallucinogenic, sedative, and anti-inflammatory. Preparations derived from its flowers, leaves, and hashish made from its resinous extract are taken orally, by smoking, or by vaporizing. Cannabis teas, tinctures, ointments, and oil-based extracts that can be mixed into food products are also popular.
Blocking Fatty Acid Storage May Induce Glioblastoma Apoptosis
Turning off an enzyme that glioblastoma cells use to store the fatty acids they feed on as energy for rapid cell division may offer a new treatment option for the deadly cancer, researchers reported in Cell Metabolism.
Medications That Affect Microbiome May Influence Checkpoint Inhibitory Response
Common classes of non-cancer medications that affect a patient’s microbiome are associated with increased or decreased survival with immune checkpoint inhibitor drugs, researchers reported in study findings published in BMC Cancer.
We Must Work to Achieve Health Equity in Cancer Research
The National Institutes of Health Revitalization Act of 1993 mandated appropriate inclusion of minorities in all NIH-funded research. Yet more than 20 years later, vast disparities still exist in cancer research, researchers reported in a session for the inaugural ONS Bridge™ virtual conference.
Innovation and Opportunity Lead to a Distinguished Career in Nursing Research
“Nursing is at the forefront of symptom management, and nurse-designed interventions lead the way,” Gwen Wyatt, RN, PhD, FAAN, FAPOS, recipient of the 2020 ONS Distinguished Nurse Researcher Award, said in a session at the inaugural ONS Bridge™ virtual conference. She shared lessons from her career journey and told nurses that ONS can help them get their ideas “off the drawing board.”
MicroRNA May Be Key Factor in High-Grade Ovarian Cancer Development
The miR-181a microRNA may turn off two genes and lead to the development of high-grade serous ovarian cancer, researchers reported in Nature Communications. The finding is significant because not much is known about how ovarian cancer develops and it’s difficult to detect in its earlier stages.
NCI-Partnered Global Research Initiative Confronts Tough Barriers to Cancer Progress
Since its inception in 2015, Cancer Research UK’s (CRUK) Cancer Grand Challenges initiative has led an international research effort to address the toughest barriers to progress in oncology, investing more than $130 million into seven international, multidisciplinary teams—total of 73 researcher groups in nine countries.
Acknowledge and End Unequal Representation in Cancer Research and Improve Access to Care
Research influences care along every inch of the cancer continuum, from prevention to survivorship, enabling healthcare professionals and patients to share decisions that result in the most current and tailored care strategies. It’s a powerful tool that sets the groundwork for providing optimal health outcomes. However, we must work to eliminate unequal representation.
FDA Program Shares PROs From Cancer Clinical Trials
Cancer clinical trials often collect patient-reported outcome (PRO) data, but the information is generally used just for that trial. Recognizing the value of making it available to healthcare providers everywhere, in July 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launched Project Patient Voice, a pilot program designed to share clinical trial PROs on an easy-to-access website.
Insulin Resistance May Explain Racial Disparity in Breast Cancer
Black women with breast cancer typically have a worse prognosis than white women, and the results of a new study suggest that insulin resistance may be a factor in the disparity. Findings from the study were reported in Breast Cancer Research.
Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials Don’t Reflect Racial Diversity—And It’s Getting Worse Over Time
More than 96% of participants in prostate cancer clinical trials are non-Hispanic white men even though non-Hispanic black men represent 22% of prostate cancer diagnoses, researchers reported in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention. Even more critical, enrollment rates of black or African American men have been declining since 1995.
NIH Appoints New NINR Director
Beginning this fall, the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) will have a nurse in a permanent position to lead the agency. On July 1, 2020, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) named Shannon N. Zenk, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN, as its new director. Zenk is currently a nursing collegiate professor in the Department of Population Health Nursing Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Nursing, and a fellow at the UIC Institute for Health Research and Policy.
Antibody-Drug Conjugates Join the Best of Two Worlds Into One New Treatment
A new class of drugs, antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), combines the specificity of targeted therapy with the cytotoxicity of chemotherapy for a powerhouse effect against certain types of cancer variants. Here’s what you need to know about this novel treatment modality.
Cancer Consortium Report Reveals High Mortality Rates in Patients With COVID-19 and Cancer
Patients with cancer who contracted the COVID-19 coronavirus had high rates of 30-day all-cause mortality that was associated with general risk factors and risk factors unique to cancer, according to findings from one of the first data registry reports of patients with the dual diagnoses. The results were published in Lancet.
Exercise Before ADT Treatment Reduces Rate of Side Effects
Beginning a supervised exercise program before the start of androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for prostate cancer reduced the incidence of treatment-related side effects, researchers reported in a study published in BJU International.
NIH Partners With Johnson and Johnson to Combat COVID-19
Long hailed as the “crown jewel” of the U.S. government’s biomedical research division, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is partnering with Johnson and Johnson for a coordinated, team-based effort to find measures with meaningful impact on the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Investigational Maintenance Therapy Extends Survival in AML
A new drug is extending both remission and survival in adults with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), according to findings reported at the American Society of Hematology annual meeting in December 2019. The study was funded by Celgene, the drug’s manufacturer.
Research Is Needed to Better Understand Combination Immunotherapy Side Effects
Combination immunotherapy treatments are revolutionizing the way cancer care is delivered. As an ongoing evolution of care, nurses are administering different treatment modalities on a regular basis. Treatments include using multiple immunotherapy drugs in tandem, combining chemotherapy with immunotherapy, using targeted therapies with immunotherapy, and even involving radiation with immunotherapy. The move toward multiple-drug modalities will continue to change nursing practice, and nurses must have a basis of knowledge and evidence from which to work.
NIH Announces Research Strategy for COVID-19
From international guidelines to economic stimulus and legislative support, the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is now global leaders’ top priority. Leading the research efforts is the National Institutes for Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID). As NIAID’s director for more than 30 years, Anthony Fauci, MD is one of the few, regular faces associated with COVID-19 in the United States. On April 23, 2020, the agency announced that it will spearhead a strategic plan to research a vaccine for COVID-19.
NCI Cancer Research Persists Despite COVID-19 Limitations
Most of the global biomedical research community, especially those at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is consumed with the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Because the U.S. federal government is under strict orders to limit its operations to only essential personnel, many of the 27 NIH institutes and centers are redirecting their efforts toward COVID-19 topics. However, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) is continuing its cancer research in certain priority areas.
Latinas’ Breast Cancer Genetic Disparities Require More Focused Counseling and Testing
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer death in Latina women. Compared to all patients with breast cancer, Latinas are the second most common ethnic group to carry BRCA1 deleterious mutations, after Ashkenazi Jewish women. However, Latinas are less likely to receive genetic counseling education, referrals, and testing services and have the least awareness of genetic testing compared to non-Hispanic whites and other minority populations. Research indicates that despite their low awareness, Latinas have high interest in participating in genetic counseling and testing.
Pembrolizumab Is More Cost Effective Than Atezolizumab for NSCLC
Adding atezolizumab to treatment with bevacizumab, carboplatin, and paclitaxel as first-line therapy for metastatic, nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is associated with survival benefit—but it comes at a cost, researchers said in study results published in JAMA Network Open. In comparison, pembrolizumab offers a more cost-effective survival benefit.
The Case of the Candy-Coated (Mis)Conception
P.G. is a 54-year-old woman who presents to the infusion center to receive her second cycle of chemotherapy for breast cancer. As her oncology nurse, you check the chemotherapy orders and patient history and are concerned to see that her weight has dropped by 10% from baseline, necessitating a change in dosing.
Beta Data Browser Puts Precision Medicine Cohort at Researchers’ Fingertips
The future of cancer care is here: precision medicine has led to many of today’s newest cancer treatments and has made incredible progress since former President Barak Obama first announced the U.S. Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) in 2015.
Personalized Combination Therapies Yield Better Cancer Outcomes
In a perpetual search to refine research and scientific advancements in the pursuit of fighting cancer, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is investing in research that will help practitioners further understand how treatments and combinations of treatments can benefit patients. Through a focus on precision oncology, researchers are examining which combinations of therapies would work best for each individual patient based on a number of factors, including genetics and genomics.
Congress Tackles Youth Smoking; Pelosi Drug Pricing; Biden's Cancer Commitment
Healthcare advocates assembled in the U.S. Congress to hear from panelists about the national epidemic of youth smoking. From those conversations, a common theme emerged: many believe that the rise in youth vaping and smoking is directly related to marketing and sales tactics by large tobacco manufacturers.
FDA Oncology Center of Excellence Establishes a Commitment to Patients
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) mission is primarily to protect the American public by regulating the sale and development of consumer items like cosmetics, food, tobacco products, medication, and much more. However, a lesser known arm is FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence, established to further prevention, detection, patient-centered research, and cancer-specific education.