NIH Researchers Make Progress Toward a Possible HIV Vaccine
An experimental HIV vaccine increased participants’ broadly neutralizing antibody (bnAb) precursor B cells that enable the body to develop bnAb-producing B cells and fight HIV, researchers reported in study results published in December 2022. The progress comes more than a decade after researchers at the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Vaccine Research Center first discovered the rare class of antibodies.
Female Leaders in Science and Medicine Drive Discoveries at NIH
From supporting the studies that led to the COVID-19 vaccine to championing diversity in the National Institutes of Health itself, women are making a difference in NIH’s halls, divisions, and programs. The agency is highlighting some of its female leaders throughout Women’s History Month in March in the Record, an NIH publication. The first feature includes a board-certified pediatrician and pediatric hematologist/oncologist who shared their experiences and wisdom and offered insight into their careers in science and medicine.
RNs Need More Education About Reasonable Accommodations for Patients With Intellectual Disabilities
Nearly 60% of RNs say they have limited awareness of the concept of reasonable accommodations for patients with intellectual disabilities, researchers reported in the Journal of Advanced Nursing. They said their findings indicate a dire need for increased nursing education and training.
Four R’s and Resilience Approach Help Oncology Nurses Respond to Morally Distressing Challenges
Disparity. Inequity. Futility. Barriers. Miscommunication. Unacceptance of the inevitable. Ethical and moral challenges perpetuate throughout practice for today’s healthcare workers, particularly oncology nurses in cancer care. As those burdens build up, nurses struggle to sustain their resilience and risk developing burnout or even leaving the profession entirely.
NIH Hosts Tribute Ceremony as Anthony Fauci, MD, Bids Government Service Farewell
The United States commemorated Anthony Fauci’s, MD, retirement from government service during a tribute ceremony held at the National Institutes of Health’s campus in Maryland in December 2022. Fauci served more than 50 years in government and 38 years as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Watch Your Words to Lose the Weight Bias in Health Care
Weight bias and stigma are evident across all professionals in the health care industry, including physicians, nurses, dietitians, and mental healthcare providers, researchers reported in Nursing Clinics of North America. They said that using people-first language is critical to reducing bias and discrimination.
What the Evidence Says About Tai Chi in Cancer Care
A form of mind-body therapy, tai chi has been practiced in China for centuries and progressed around the world today. The practice combines a sequence of gentle body movements with meditation and coordinated breathing. Under traditional Chinese medicine theory and philosophy, tai chi harmonizes the vital forces of yin and yang and promotes the flow of qi (internal energy).
NIH’s All of Us Research Program Starts Returning Genetic Health-Related Results to Participants
To help historically underrepresented communities learn more about their health, the National Institutes of Health’s All of Us Research Program began returning personalized health-related DNA results to more than 155,000 participants, NIH reported in December 2022. The reports include information on whether participants have an increased risk for certain health conditions and how they might process certain medications.
New NINR Strategic Framework Guides Nurse Scientists to Solve the Nation’s ‘Pressing and Persistent Health Challenges’
The National Institute of Nursing Research established its updated research framework to support its 2022–2026 strategic plan and mission of leading “nursing research to solve pressing health challenges and inform practice and policy-optimizing health and advancing health equity.” The framework focuses on and encourages research that “informs practice and policy and improves health and quality of life for all people, their families and communities, and the society in which they live.”
Intense, Immediate Research Action in Six Key Areas Can Reduce Cancer’s Impact on All Population Segments, DCCPS Director Says
Marking her first year at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Katrina Goddard, PhD, director of the NCI’s Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, outlined a foundation of future research for DCCPS, priority research areas, and the impact of research on diverse populations in a December 2022 interview.
Nurse-Led Bone Marrow Biopsy Clinics Truncate Time for Testing, Treatment
Patients with suspected hematologic cancers complete the bone marrow biopsy processes and begin treatment more than one month sooner when the procedures are shifted from interventional radiology to a dedicated, nurse-led bone marrow biopsy clinic, researchers reported in a poster presentation at the Association of VA Hematology/Oncology meeting.
Postdischarge ICI Patient Education Eliminates Hospital Readmissions
None of the patients who were admitted for an immune checkpoint inhibitor–related toxicity but received structured teaching at discharge were subsequently readmitted within 30 days, compared to nearly 50% of patients who did not receive teaching, ONS member Michelle L. Rohlfs, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, AOCNP®, reported in study findings published in the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing.
NIH Awards Nearly $5 Million for Research Grants to Advance Precision Medicine
The National Institutes of Health, through its All of Us Research Program, announced in January 2023 research funding opportunities to expand the use of the program’s data to advance precision medicine. NIH allocated up to $4.75 million in fiscal year 2023 for the research grants.
CMS’s New Plan Improves Health Equity Data Collection
Continuing the fight toward health equity, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Office of Minority Health released a report in November 2022 on current progress and future actions to improve health equity data collection.
Nearly 25% of Patients With Cancer Are Victims of Intimate Partner Violence
Anger is a common emotion for both patients and their partners when facing cancer, but in almost a quarter of relationships, that anger turns psychologically or physically violent. According to the results of a new study published in Supportive Care in Cancer, both genders report acts of abuse from their partners during the cancer journey.
White House Proposes Policies to Enhance STEMM Ecosystem
From the workforce to the populations that the discoveries support, America’s science and technology ecosystem is in dire need of diversity and equity, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy said. In December 2022, it launched an action plan to create avenues in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine for previously excluded communities.
NINR Promotes Nursing Research to Achieve Health Equity
To address and achieve equity in health care, in fall 2022 the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) began offering new funding opportunities for research studies aligned with the scientific framework outlined in the institute’s 2022–2026 strategic plan. The grants are available cyclically with three application periods per year.
Use Active Listening to Engage More Deeply in Patient Discussions
In your day-to-day conversations with patients, colleagues, or even friends and family at home, are you merely hearing what others tell you or are you actively listening to them? When we actively listen to what someone is saying, we intreat curiosity about their words and the emotions they are communicating with their tone and body language. Active listening engages a whole-person connection, whereas passive listening relies on the brain’s ability to catch the main points of a conversation.
NIH-Funded Studies Show Damaging Effects of Vaping, Smoking on Blood Vessels
Long-term use of vaping products can significantly impair the body’s blood vessel functioning, increasing a person’s risk for cardiovascular disease, researchers for two studies supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, reported in October 2022. The researchers also found that combined use of e- and regular cigarettes may increase that risk even further than use of either product alone.
New Cancer Drugs Launch at Record-High Prices
Inflating more than 50% since 2017, the annual price of newly launched cancer drugs averages $283,000 in 2022, according to a new report from the office of U.S. Representative Katie Porter (D-CA). Although new drugs for any condition are also seeing record-breaking high prices, the cost of new anticancer therapeutics is 3.7 times higher than that of non-oncology drugs.
Even During Routine Cancer Care, Financial Hardship Significantly Increases Mortality
Patients with cancer experiencing financial hardship during routine care are nearly 1.5 times more likely to die than those who aren’t, researchers reported in study findings published in JCO Oncology Practice.
OSTP Makes Federally Funded Research Easily Accessible to the Public
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy updated policy guidance in August 2022 to allow the average American easier access to publications. The new guidance applies to taxpayer-funded research studies and makes the results publicly available for free.
Arati Prabhakar Becomes First Woman and Person of Color as U.S. Presidential Advisor for Science and Technology
The U.S. Senate confirmed the appointment of Arati Prabhakar, PhD, as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and chief advisor to the president for science and technology in September 2022, making her the first woman and person of color confirmed to lead OSTP.
Micro-Organospheres Create Molecular Model of Patients’ Cancer in Just Two Weeks
Biomarker- and molecular-driven technologies such as molecular models can precisely predict how an individual’s cancer will respond to certain treatments, the pinnacle of precision oncology. However, established modeling systems such as patient-derived xenografts and patient-derived organoids require large tissue samples and take months or even a year to obtain results, barriers that have limited their application in regular practice.
What the Evidence Says About Probiotics and Cancer Immunotherapy
Growing evidence suggests that the gut microbiome, a diverse and complex mix of microorganisms and their metabolites, is closely linked to the immune system, and researchers are studying whether modulating the gut microbiome affects cancer immunotherapy treatment outcomes. In particular, probiotics—which are flora typically obtained through dietary sources such as yogurt and fermented foods or via supplemental forms—are gaining prominence as a potential strategy to modulate the gut microbiome during cancer treatment.
Cortisol Biomarkers Help Researchers Understand Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy
Clinicians and researchers know little about the mechanisms for chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, a side effect of neurotoxic agents that can cause numbness, tingling, and pain in the upper and lower extremities. Until recently, mechanism-based treatment was difficult, but biomarkers are helping nurse scientists identify a potential connection to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.
Anthony Fauci, MD, Talks About His Legacy as He Steps Down as NIAID Director
Anthony Fauci, MD, reflected on his career in government and gave insight into what he’s doing next in a statement released in August 2022 addressing his departure from his positions as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), chief of the NIAID Laboratory of Immunoregulation, and chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden. Fauci served as NIAID director for 38 years and held a career spanning more than 50 years in government service.
New Data Show 2.5 Million Youth Currently Use E-Cigarettes
About 1 in 10 middle (3.3%) and high (14.1%) school students used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days, according to findings that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reported in October 2022. In total, 2.5 million middle and high school students currently use e-cigarettes.
Color Out Your Stress and Anxiety
More than an activity for children, many people find that the cathartic art of coloring, particularly intricate patterns and swirling mandalas, may help them destress. The first adult coloring book was published in the 1960s, but adults began embracing the idea en mass in April 2015 when illustrator Johanna Basford was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered. By the end of that year, 12 million adult coloring books were sold in the United States.
Researcher Reflects on How Cancer Was Reported on in the Mid-20th Century
Our understanding of cancer has come a great ways over the past few decades, and some of the progress can be traced back to the 1950’s film Challenge: Science Against Cancer, explained David Cantor, PhD, researcher at the Instituto de Desarrollo Económico y Social, Buenos Aires Argentina, adjunct professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Maryland, College Park, in a July 2022 essay for the National Library of Medicine.
NIH-Funded Study on HIV Vulnerability Could Help Erase Latent HIV Infection
Patterns of sugars at the surface of immune cells can affect a person’s vulnerability to HIV infection, according to results from a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. The findings suggested it may be possible to locate infected immune cells with the last vestiges of HIV by reading sugar profiles on the surface, Lawrence Tabak, DDS, PhD, NIH acting director, said in a July 2022 blog post.
Diverse Nursing Research Tackles Current Medical Challenges and Looks Toward Future
The National Institute of Nursing Research, an National Institutes of Health agency, released its 2022–2026 strategic plan in summer 2022 to support its mission of leading “nursing research to solve pressing health challenges and inform practice and policy—optimizing health and advancing health equity into the future.”
NIH Climate Change and Health Initiative Rallies Efforts to Address the Dangers of the Environment on Health
The National Institutes of Health launched the Climate Change and Health Initiative to expand knowledge and address key challenges regarding the environment’s impact on health and conditions like cancer in a collaborating all-hands-on-deck scientific effort, Richard Woychik, PhD, director of the NIH’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, said in a blog post in July 2022.
Tea Soothes Your Soul and Supports Your Well-Being
Throughout history, many generations have used a hot cup of tea to promote mental and physical wellness. The discovery of tea dates to 2732 B.C., when leaves from a wild tree blew into Chinese Emperor Shen Nung’s pot of boiling water and the pleasant scent compelled him to take a sip. The legend says that the emperor described how the liquid gave him a warm feeling that invigorated his body and soul.
Testicular Cancer Survivors May Need Fewer Monitoring Scans
Monitoring early-stage testicular cancer survivors for disease recurrence after surgery using either magnetic resonance imaging or fewer computed tomography scans is just as effective as more frequent intervals, researchers reported in study findings published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Certain Cancers May Increase Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Patients with lung, pancreatic, breast, brain, urinary tract, or uterine cancers may be more likely to develop new-onset type 2 diabetes after their cancer diagnosis, according to research findings published in Diabetes Care, and those who went on to develop type 2 diabetes experienced poorer overall health outcomes.
Nurse Scientists Are Leading Patient Care Discoveries in the Ever-Evolving World of Cancer Survivorship
The cancer survivorship program team at the University of Pennsylvania Abramson Cancer Center is conducting numerous research projects such as cancer treatment’s late effects, survivors’ quality of life and health behaviors, telemedicine for survivorship visits, and even an artificial intelligence–powered, mobile phone–based program to support patient adherence to guidance from survivorship visits.
Drug Clinical Trials Focus on Efficacy Over Quality of Life
The clinical trials that lead to new drug approvals or expanded indications are quick to praise a therapy’s clinical benefits, such as longer survival or time to progression, but only about one in five of those trials find improvements in patients’ quality of life, researchers reported in JAMA Oncology.
FDA Approves Ibrutinib for Pediatric Patients With Chronic Graft-Versus-Host Disease, Including a New Oral Suspension
On August 24, 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved ibrutinib (Imbruvica®) for pediatric patients aged less than 1 year with chronic graft-versus-host disease after failure of one or more lines of systemic therapy. Formulations include capsules, tablets, and oral suspension.
As Skin Cancer Screening Increases, Clinicians Find More Thin Melanomas
Although regular population-based skin cancer screening isn’t recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, more Americans are getting full-body skin exams at dermatology visits or other provider services. Data from a new study published in JAMA Dermatology suggest that the screening uptick is associated with increased diagnoses of early-stage, in situ melanoma, leading the researchers to raise concerns about overdiagnosis.
FDA Publishes Three New Biosimilars Resources for Healthcare Providers
To raise awareness and better educate patients and providers about biosimilars’ potential in clinical care, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) added three new fact sheets to its healthcare provider resources in July 2022.
Single HPV Vaccine Dose May Be Enough to Prevent Cancer
In findings that could have global implications to change the face of female cancers, researchers reported that a single dose of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is highly effective in protecting young women against cervical infection with cancer-causing HPV types. The study results, which were published in NEJM Evidence, build on the body of evidence supporting single-dose HPV vaccines.
Promote Patient Self-Advocacy Across the Cancer Spectrum
Healthcare professionals are called to provide patient-centered care in an environment where they listen to patients’ goals and desires and support patient autonomy. However, heeding that call requires patients’ participation to voice their needs and concerns, and some patients may be reluctant to speak up for themselves.
Cancer Mortality Declines Among Black Patients but Remains Disproportionately High
Death rates fell about 2% per year from 1999–2019 for Black patients with cancer, researchers reported in study findings published in JAMA Oncology; however, the population’s cancer mortality remains higher than other racial and ethnic groups for most cancer sites.
What the Evidence Says About Traditional Chinese Medicine for Chronic Diarrhea
Diarrhea is a distressing condition that significantly affects patients’ quality of life and social functioning. Characterized by passage of more than three unformed stools in 24 hours, in cancer it can be caused by chemotherapy, radiotherapy, laxatives and antibiotics, enteral feeding, malabsorption syndromes, colectomy, or several types of malignant tumors. Diarrhea has also been reported in long-term cancer survivors. Standard treatment options such as opiate agonists and adsorbents are associated with side effects that may increase a patient’s symptom burden.
Oncology Nursing QI Project Shows Normal Saline Is Comparable to Heparin for Pediatric CVCs
Emerging evidence has consistently shown that flushing central venous catheters with normal saline is comparable to heparin flushes in the adult care setting, leading to updated guideline recommendations that include saline as an alternative. But to date, only two studies have evaluated the two options in pediatric patients, the older of which found increased complications when used in children with leukemia or lymphoma. Is normal saline an acceptable alternative in that population?
Genetic Disorder Reference Sheet: Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Type 1
Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) is a rare autosomal dominant genetic disease affecting about 1 in 30,000 people. Pathogenic variants in the MEN1 gene are associated with benign and malignant tumors in the parathyroid glands, pituitary gland, pancreas, duodenum, and stomach.
Healthcare Organizations Advocate for Clinical Trial Diversity in Letter to Congress
Healthcare organizations advocated to improve diversity among clinical trials in a letter sent to U.S. Congress in May encouraging the government to take steps as the reauthorization of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) approaches. The PDUFA allows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to review and approve drugs, but the authorization is set to expire in September of 2022.
FDA Says It’s Continuing to Evaluate Pulse Oximeters’ Race-Related Accuracy and Limitations
More than a year and a half after a report suggesting a potential racial bias in pulse oximeter technology first surfaced as a letter to the editor in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), on June 21, 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that it is continuing its investigation into the devices’ accuracy and performance, particularly among people of color.
Maintain Oral Adherence With ONS Guidelines™
With so many of today’s cancer treatments administered orally, ensuring that patients adhere to their regimen as prescribed is essential to optimal outcomes. According to the World Health Organization, medication adherence is the single most important modifiable factor that affects treatment outcomes.