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.
Naive T-Cell Depletion Prevents Chronic GVHD in Transplantation Survivors
A novel stem cell transplantation strategy reduces both the incidence and severity of chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in patients with acute leukemia, researchers reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The investigational treatment removes naïve T cells from donor cells before transplanting into patients.
Decree Houses ARPA-H Under NIH Oversight
Since President Joe Biden announced the creation of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) in October 2021, the National Cancer Institute and National Institutes of Health (NIH) shared responsibility for implementing its goals to improve the U.S. government’s ability to speed biomedical and health research. In April 2022, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officially placed the agency under NIH.
Spring Clean Your Home and Heart
Slowing down to recenter can often feel unrealistic amid a nurse’s competing priorities. However, cultivating internal and external stability can improve life at the bedside and beyond. A clean home and heart can make it easier for us to navigate day-to-day responsibilities and engage in the love and relaxation we deserve as the day winds down.
Use the Evidence to Integrate Ethics in Teleoncology Care
Emily manages a rural clinic associated with an academic cancer center. Patients initially have an in-person consultation with their treating oncologists at the main campus but then use telehealth for subsequent visits. To support patients during teleoncology visits, Emily wants to initiate a plan to collaborate with the clinic staff to identify and address the ethical principles for oncology care using telehealth.
AI Ultrasound Is Nearly 100% Accurate in Detecting Thyroid Cancers
Ultrasound imaging guided with artificial intelligence (AI) noninvasively detects almost all malignant thyroid nodules, researchers reported at the 2022 Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancers Symposium. It is also accurate when predicting T stage, extracapsular extension, and presence of a BRAF variant.
Oncology Navigation Standards Help Patients Overcome Disparities and Barriers to Care
Patients with cancer, especially those from underrepresented groups or who are experiencing racism, inequalities, social determinants of health factors, and other barriers to care, need oncology nurse navigation now more than ever before. Developed as a “strategy to improve outcomes in marginalized populations by eliminating barriers to timely diagnosis and treatment of cancer and other chronic diseases,” navigation has made a difference for patients since its introduction in 1990.
U.S. Representative Pallone Questions Vaping Companies on Teen Marketing
As the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues its review of tobacco and e-cigarette products’ marketing applications, legislators and government officials, such as Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), are taking a stand and sharing their concerns on Big Tobacco’s marketing to teenage audiences.
More Patients Are Skipping Their Cervical Cancer Screenings
Nearly a quarter of patients who are eligible for cervical cancer screening are overdue for their current tests, researchers said in study findings published in JAMA Network Open. The number grew nearly 10% since 2005—representing a steady increase in missed screening over time—and was higher in different sociodemographic groups because of factors related to social determinants of health.
CAR T-Cell Therapy Programs
Debuting in human clinical trials just a decade ago, chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy was quickly hailed as a breakthrough cancer treatment for certain hematologic cancers. Today, patients and providers have access to 22 U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)–approved cellular and gene therapy products, and CAR T-cell therapy is available beyond large academic research centers.
Robert Otto Valdez Appointed AHRQ Director
Internationally recognized for expertise in health services research, the U.S. healthcare system, and health policy analysis, Robert Otto Valdez, PhD, MHSA, was appointed as director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) in February 2022, where he leads the agency’s work in improving and promoting patient safety.
Younger Nurses Are Leaving the Profession Because of Emotional Health
Young nurses are “less emotionally healthy and less optimistic about the future,” even after accounting for age and years of nursing experience, according to findings from a 2022 study conducted by the American Nurses Foundation. High levels of burnout correlate with drones of professionals leaving the nursing field, the foundation said in its Pulse on the Nation’s Nurses Survey Series: COVID-19 Two-Year Impact Assessment Survey.
What the Evidence Says About Low-Intensity Exercise in Cancer Care
Regular, light-intensity exercise and activity has been shown to reduce the risks of fractures, heart disease, and death. Substantial evidence also indicated benefits for cancer-related outcomes, including fatigue, depression, and quality of life. Additional observational data suggested that sustained physical activity may help reduce cancer recurrence and improve overall survival.
Nursing Diversity Is Critical to Address Health Disparities
Following the death of George Floyd in May 2020, I found myself surrounded by oncology nurses who recognized the need for immediate action to understand and deconstruct racism, and I began collecting resources to offer continuing education about the effects of racism on cancer outcomes and actions nurses can take to support health equity and diversity in the workforce. Under the mentorship of ONS Past President Mary Gullatte, PhD, RN, ANP-BC, AOCN®, FAAN, I was charged by ONS to co-lead, with ONS member Randy Jones, PhD, RN, FAAN, a national team of ONS cancer disparities and health equity researchers to update the ONS Research Agenda.
E-Cigarettes Affect Adults and Kids Differently, FDA Center for Tobacco Products Director Says
Balancing the benefits of e-cigarettes for adults with the harms makes regulating e-cigarette marketing particularly challenging, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products Director Mitch Zeller, JD, said in a January 2022 interview with the National Cancer Institute (NCI). FDA continuously evaluates e-cigarettes and tobacco companies’ marketing strategies, and Zeller says it’s up to tobacco companies to make those differences clear in their advertising.
New HHS Initiative Will Reduce Maternal and Infant Health Disparities
To reduce the disparities affecting maternity health outcomes, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office on Women’s Health (OWH) launched the Maternal Morbidity and Mortality Data and Analysis Initiative, an $8 million contract with Premier, Inc., the agency announced in December 2021. The initiative is rallying a network of hospitals to deploy evidence-based best practices in maternity care.
Families See Increase in Healthcare Premiums, Increase in Covered Services
Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums increased by 4% for families in 2021, bringing the average annual cost to $22,221 per family, according to the results of a benchmark Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) Employer Health Benefits survey released in November 2021. KFF also assessed the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on workplace health benefits, including telemedicine and mental health services.
Local Policies Have Reduced Availability, Use of Flavored Tobacco Products
Local policies have reduced the availability and youth and adult use of products like flavored e-cigarettes and menthol cigarettes compared to areas without restrictions, the Truth Initiative reported after the first comprehensive quality review that looked at the outcomes of flavor and menthol tobacco restrictions. The research, which was conducted in partnership with the Research Triangle Institute, was published in Nicotine and Tobacco Research.
Black Patients at Higher Risk for Infection, Poor Outcomes From COVID-19 During Cancer
Patients with cancer are more likely to contract the COVID-19 coronavirus and experience complications from the infection—and the risk is highest for Black patients, study findings show. Researchers published the report in JAMA Oncology.
Racism, Health Inequities, and Unequal Access to Care Are Oncology Nursing Research Priorities
Racial inequality persists across the entire healthcare spectrum—from patient disparities to the healthcare workforce’s current makeup and even to the education of the next generation of practitioners. But nurse scientists conducting clinical trials have the opportunity to change that.
Patients Cope With Intense Emotions After Clinical Trial Withdrawal
When withdrawing from a clinical trial, patients experience a spectrum of emotions ranging from regret, urgency, frustration—and trust in their healthcare professionals, like oncology nurses, according to the results of a study published in JAMA Network Open.
Biden Brings Robert Califf Back to FDA
Citing his extensive medical background and leadership experience, in November 2021, President Joe Biden nominated Robert Califf, MD, MACC, adjunct professor of medicine, professor of cardiology, and member of the Duke Clinical Research Institute at the Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, NC, as U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner. Califf will assume the role once confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
FDA Approves Sirolimus Protein-Bound Particles for Malignant Perivascular Epithelioid Cell Tumor
On November 22, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved sirolimus protein-bound particles for injectable suspension (Fyarro™) for adult patients with locally advanced unresectable or metastatic malignant perivascular epithelioid cell tumor (PEComa).
Genetic Disorder Reference Sheet: Familial Adenomatous Polyposis
Individuals with 10–100+ polyps may have a germline pathogenic variant in the APC gene, placing them at higher risk for developing colorectal, gastrointestinal, and other cancers. The condition is known as familial adenosis polyposis (FAP), and loss of function in the APC gene is the first step in the adenoma-to-carcinoma sequence. Some people have an attenuated form (aFAP), with delayed polyp growth and fewer polyps (see sidebar). As many as 20% are de novo, meaning that they are the first in their family to have an identified pathogenic variant.