Biden-Harris Administration’s Drug Policy Priorities Support Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery
Prescription overdoses and addiction rates have dramatically increased since 2012, with more than 70,000 deaths attributed to the abuse of fentanyl, opioids, cocaine, and methamphetamine in 2019, a 35% increase since 2015. Addressing drug misuse is a top priority for the Biden-Harris administration, as well as researching systematic inequities in the country’s approach to criminal justice and prevention, treatment, and recovery.
Senate HELP Committee Reviews Federal Agencies’ COVID-19 Response
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is “committed to continuing to advance the science around COVID-19, moving more vaccines into more communities—especially those communities most at risk for COVID-19 infection—and working to improve health equity,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, said during a March 2021 U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) hearing. She joined Anthony Fauci, MD, David Kessler, MD, and Peter Marks, MD, PhD, in sharing witness testimonies about their agencies’ response to the pandemic and how to better prepare for future threats.
FDA Approves Belumosudil for Chronic Graft-Versus-Host Disease
On July 16, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved belumosudil (RezurockTM), a kinase inhibitor, for the treatment of chronic graft-versus-host disease (chronic GVHD) in adult and pediatric patients 12 years and older after failure of at least two prior lines of systemic therapy.
Long-Term irAEs From Checkpoint Inhibitors Have Considerations for Survivorship
More than 40% of patients with melanoma treated with nivolumab or pembrolizumab experience persistent long-term immune-related adverse events (irAEs) for at least 1.5 years, researchers reported in JAMA Oncology.
Nurse Researcher AIMS to Increase Screening for Malnutrition and Reduce Bowel Dysfunction
Research has identified an association between malnutrition and functional deficits in patients with cancer, regardless of age, and other studies confirm that malnutrition affects treatment tolerability, outcomes, and quality of life for patients with cancer. However, studies have also found that oncology clinicians do not consistently assess for malnutrition and functional deficits in clinical settings.
The Evidence Is Building for ACE Inhibitors in Anthracycline-Associated Cardiotoxicity
Cardiac toxicities are associated with many types of cancer therapies, with both length of and time since treatment increasing a patient’s risk for the adverse event. Anthracycline chemotherapies are among the oldest agents still used for a variety of cancer diagnoses, and as cancer survivorship continues to grow, more patients are presenting with late-onset cardiac complications.
FDA Approves Daratumumab and Hyaluronidase-Fihj With Pomalidomide and Dexamethasone for Multiple Myeloma
On July 9, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved daratumumab and hyaluronidase-fihj (Darzalex Faspro®) in combination with pomalidomide and dexamethasone for adult patients with multiple myeloma who have received at least one prior line of therapy, including lenalidomide and a proteasome inhibitor.
FDA Requires E-Cigarette Brands to Provide Information on Social Media Practices
Companies marketing the tobacco brands Aspire, Joyetech, Vaporesso, and Voopoo, which were selected through a systematic process, must share information about social media marketing campaigns that target youth, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced. The requirements include social media advertising documents and marketing plans, such as planned content to target specific audiences, cost of plans, use of partners and influences, and the number of followers and views broken down by age group.
USPSTF Recommends Colorectal Cancer Screening Should Begin at 45
According to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death for both men and women, with an estimated 52,980 individuals in the U.S. projected to die from the disease in 2021. After evaluating the current evidence and conducting a modeling study, USPSTF updated its recommendations on colorectal cancer screening.
FDA Approves Asparaginase Erwinia Chrysanthemi for Leukemia and Lymphoma
On June 30, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved asparaginase erwinia chrysanthemi (recombinant)-rywn (RylazeTM) as a component of a multiagent chemotherapeutic regimen for the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and lymphoblastic lymphoma (LBL) in adult and pediatric patients one month or older who have developed hypersensitivity to E. coli-derived asparaginase.
Immunotherapy Extends Survival in Uveal Melanoma
Patients with uveal melanoma who were treated with tebentafusp, an investigational immunotherapy, lived a median 5.7 months longer than those in comparison groups, researchers reported in study findings presented at the American Association for Cancer Research 2021 annual meeting.
FDA Approves Avapritinib for Advanced Systemic Mastocytosis
On June 16, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved avapritinib (Ayvakit™) for adult patients with advanced systemic mastocytosis (AdvSM), including patients with aggressive systemic mastocytosis, systemic mastocytosis with an associated hematologic neoplasm, and mast cell leukemia.
Single-Chain Diabodies May Target Variants in Both Solid and Liquid Tumors
Lab-developed antibodies using a single-chain diabody format can target TP53 or RAS variants in solid tumors and T-cell receptor variants in blood cancers, researchers reported in study findings published in Science, Science Immunology, and Science Translational Medicine, respectively.
Big Tobacco Continues to Target Female Smokers, but Oncology Nurses Can Help
More than 16 million people who identify as women and girls in the United States reported smoking in 2021, according to a May 2021 report from the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, of which ONS is an active member, who partnered with several leading women’s organizations on the study. Female smokers are also significantly more likely than men to use menthol cigarettes, and e-cigarette use among high school girls rose by 89% from 2017–2020.
The Future of Nursing Charts a Path to Achieve Health Equity
Society in 2021 has been challenged by an economic crisis and the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Today, nurses must have an arsenal of tools and knowledge—and the ability to adapt in unpredictable circumstances—to assist patients seeking health care.
Racial Minorities Receive More Aggressive EOL Ovarian Cancer Care
During the last month of life, non-White patients are more likely to receive aggressive care with little to no focus on palliative or end-of-life (EOL) care for their ovarian cancer, researchers reported in Cancer.
Research Findings Confirm Link Between Communication and Safety
My team’s current project to understand communication in ambulatory oncology settings stems from more than a decade of research (Kamimura et al.), in which we have tried to uncover the factors that facilitate high-quality cancer care for patients and a satisfying practice environment for care teams (Friese).
Multimethod Approach Supports Providers’ Mental Health During COVID-19
Providing variety of methods and approaches allows healthcare workers to choose the best options for them to mitigate and treat psychological distress from the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, researchers said in a preliminary report published in the Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.
FDA Grants Accelerated Approval to Infigratinib for Metastatic Cholangiocarcinoma
On May 28, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval to infigratinib (Truseltiq™), a kinase inhibitor for patients with previously treated, unresectable locally advanced or metastatic cholangiocarcinoma with a fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 fusion or other rearrangement as detected by an FDA-approved test. FDA also approved the FoundationOne® CDx as a companion diagnostic for infigratinib.
Imaging Test Identifies Treatment Choices for ER-Positive Breast Cancer
Using positron-emission tomography with a radioactive tracer identifies levels of progesterone receptor in patients with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer, researchers reported in Nature Communications. The diagnostic tool would help clinicians determine which patients are most likely to respond to hormone therapies for breast cancer.
Survey Results Support Predicted Effects of Pandemic Screening Drop
Clinicians are already seeing an increase in late-stage cancer diagnoses that they attribute to the pandemic-driven pause in cancer screening and treatment adherence, according to the results of a survey from the American Society for Radiation Oncology.
Text Messaging Reduces Disparities in Colorectal Cancer Screening
A series of text reminders to complete an at-home fecal immunochemical test increased screening completion rates by nearly 20%, researchers reported in study findings published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. The results are particularly encouraging because almost 90% of the participants were Black, a population that typically has low screening adherence rates but higher incidence of and mortality from colorectal cancer.
Targeted Therapy Drug Shows Promise in CLL
Pirtobrutinib, an investigational, third-generation Bruton tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor, offered response rates of 60% or higher in most groups of heavily pretreated patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), even those who’ve received other BTK inhibitors as previous treatment, researchers reported in Lancet.
Evidence-Based Leadership Trends Show How Every Nurse Is a Leader
I believe that every nurse is a leader, and we need leaders in all areas of our profession, from academia and research to clinical practice. Nurses must lead from the future and reinvent themselves to achieve their desired career path. Practice in the now, but lead from anticipation of what will happen based on healthcare trends.
Time in Nature Is Time Well Spent
“Nature alone cures,” Florence Nightingale instructed her fellow nurses in Notes on Nursing—and we’ve continued to follow that principle, creating a healing environment for our patients that involves fresh air and sunlight. That same environment can promote health in nurses as well.
Gut Microbiome May Be a Factor With Immunotherapy Resistance in Advanced Melanoma
Altering a patient's gut microbiome through fecal transplant improved response to immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy in 40% of patients with advanced melanoma who initially did not respond to the immunotherapy in a small, single-arm clinical trial. Researchers reported the findings in Science.
ONS Members See Beyond Barriers and Understand Benefits of Guidelines
I am a clinician in my heart and soul. I was an ONS charter member and one of the first nurse practitioners (NPs) at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, NY, before any NP laws were in place and before colony-stimulating factors. The inability to prevent death secondary to chemotherapy-induced neutropenia (CIN) and febrile neutropenia (FN) haunted me and led me to conduct several funded studies.
Latina, Asian Women With Gynecologic Cancers Are Less Likely to Use Palliative Care
Only 4%–9% of patients with ovarian or cervical cancer use palliative care, but the numbers are much lower for Hispanic and Asian women than for non-Hispanic White women, according to researchers’ findings reported in Data in Brief.
Adding MRI to PSA Detects More Prostate Cancers Than PSA Alone
Combining magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing allows clinicians to detect twice as many clinically significant prostate cancers than PSA testing alone, according to study results published in JAMA Oncology.
Muscle Quality Predicts Efficacy of NSCLC Immunotherapy
Patients with higher muscle quality during treatment with PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitor monotherapy for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) had higher overall response rates and longer progression-free survival than patients with lower-quality skeletal muscle, researchers reported in study findings published in Cancer Medicine.
Medicaid Expansion Coincides With Earlier Colon Cancer Diagnosis Rates
U.S. states that adopted the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion in January 2014 have earlier colon cancer diagnoses, enhanced access to care, and improved colon cancer surgical care than states that didn’t implement the expansion, researchers reported in Journal of the American College of Surgeons. Additionally, patients in the expansion states were more likely to have minimally invasive procedures and fewer urgent surgeries.
COVID-19 Immunity Lasts Multiple Months, NIH Study Shows
Healthcare providers are one of the most at-risk populations for contracting the COVID-19 coronavirus. However, a 2020 study of healthcare workers found that acquired immunity from an initial COVID-19 infection offers protection against reinfection for at least six months or asymptomatic infection in the rare instances where someone subsequently tested positive within six months of acquiring immunity.
Mortality Rates After Cancer Surgery Decrease, but Racial Disparities Remain
During the past 10 years, mortality rates after cancer surgery have improved by 0.12%–0.14%, depending on race, researchers reported in study findings published in JAMA Network Open. However, the gap between outcomes for Black and White patients remains, they found.
Targeted Radiation Reduces Pain From Spine Metastasis
Palliative radiation targeted directly to the tumor with stereotactic body radiation therapy eliminated metastatic pain in 33% of patients for six months compared to 16% with standard radiation therapy. Researchers reported the study findings at the American Society for Radiation Oncology annual meeting.
How Can Oncology Nurses Reduce Isolation for Caregivers?
Social connection with others is widely considered a fundamental human need, crucial to well-being and survival. A growing body of literature is evaluating cancer caregivers’ needs, yet strategies to address loneliness, which has broadly detrimental effects on caregivers, are still in their infancy. Therefore, my goal is to identify better support strategies for caregivers as they support their loved ones with cancer.
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.”
Adding Nivolumab to Chemo Improves Survival for Advanced Gastric Cancer
First-line therapy combining nivolumab with chemotherapy improved median overall survival rates in patients with PD-L1-expressing gastric cancer by 3.3 months in a large international, multicenter trial. The findings were reported during the 2020 European Society for Medical Oncology virtual meeting.
Genomics May Trick PARP Inhibitors to Treat More Cancers
Turning on the body’s inflammasome with epigenetic therapy may improve the efficacy of PARP inhibitors across multiple tumor types, possibly expanding the therapy’s application to new cancers, researchers reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Telegenetic Counseling Bridges Geographic Barriers and Minimizes Distress
Our 2009–2014 study, Bridging Geographic Barriers: Remote Cancer Genetics Counseling for Rural Women, also known as the REACH Project (Risk Education and Assessment for Cancer Heredity), was the first randomized, noninferiority trial of telephone-based BRCA1 and BRCA2 counseling and testing that used a population-based traceback approach to identify and counsel both rural and urban women who were at increased risk for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer but had not received genetic counseling or testing.
NKT Cells May Be the Next Wave of CAR Therapy
When genetically modified with a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR), natural killer T (NKT) cells eliminated 50% of metastases in a patient with heavily pretreated, relapsed or refractory metastatic neuroblastoma, according to interim findings from an ongoing study that were published in Nature Medicine.
FDA Offers Guidance to Enhance Diversity in Clinical Trials
The COVID-19 coronavirus continues to smother the United States, and nationwide efforts to flatten the curve aren’t lowering cases or preventing deaths. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, MD, an oncologist by training and profession, addressed the actions needed to combat COVID-19. One in particular is ensuring that clinical trials accurately reflect diverse populations.
Aspirin’s Cancer Benefits May Not Translate to Older Adults
Healthy older adults who take daily low-dose aspirin have increased risk of being diagnosed with advanced cancers and dying from cancer, according to findings from a new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Patients With Gynecologic Cancers Have Significant Fatigue After Surgery
Forty-eight percent of women with gynecologic cancers report experiencing clinically significant fatigue after surgery that may continue six months (44%) and one (39%) year later, researchers reported in study findings published in Cancer.
Research Shows That Telehealth Has the Power to Meet the Needs of Vulnerable Communities
Telehealth resources have been present in the United States for several decades. Traditionally, clinicians used telehealth to help rural populations with limited access to care. However, telehealth innovations expand beyond home care coordination. We can use technology to reach even the most remote and vulnerable patients.
We Need More Evidence to Assess Technologies for Oral Adherence
Oral anticancer agents are often expensive, and ensuring that patients have the financial means to pay for the medication is the first important step to improving adherence rates. Each health system has a group of individuals, not technology, to manage access to financial assistance. Even if they can afford the therapy, however, patients often struggle to maintain oral adherence.
Nursing Is Science First; It Just Appears Heroic
Science, our reliance on the foundations of epidemiology, and management of a public health crisis have been unprecedented discussion topics this year. We have never had a greater need to rely on data, science, and the evolving understanding of experts about the COVID-19 coronavirus and how to contend with it.