Nurse Scientists Are Promoting the Future of Cancer Nursing Research at NINR and NCI
Many programs at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) are focused on cancer research, and support for cancer- and treatment-related symptoms and toxicities crosses a number of National Institutes of Health (NIH) organizations. Martha Matocha, PhD, program director and team lead of the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), and Ann O’Mara, PhD, RN, FAAN, program officer at NCI, provided tips and opportunities for nurses and how they can conduct or participate in cancer research programs during a session at the 43rd Annual Congress in Washington, DC.
Huntington Disease May Hold Key to Novel Cancer Treatment
The mutated huntington (HTT) gene causes the body to generate a class of small molecules that are toxic to cancer cells but not most healthy cells, according to the results of a new study published in EMBO Reports. The researchers went as far as to call it a “super assassin against all tumor cells.”
How Aromatherapy With Essential Oils May Help Patients With Cancer
Aromatherapy has grown in popularity over the past few decades for improving sleep and mood and for reducing anxiety, but its first use dates back more than 5,000 years. The practice involves using essential (aromatic) oils, derived typically from steam distillation of plants, through application to the skin as a component of therapeutic massage or inhalation with vaporizers, inhalers, or hot water baths.
Childhood Obesity May Be a Factor in Increasing Cancer Rates in Young Adults
Although overall cancer rates are on the decline, 9 of the 20 most common cancers in the United States are increasing more frequently in young adults aged 20–44. And those same 9 cancers are among the 13 cancers that have clear ties to obesity. In a new study published in Obesity, a researcher makes the case for a connection between the two.
Evidence for Nephrotoxicity Prevention With Cisplatin Therapy Is Still Limited
Cisplatin chemotherapy is used alone or in combination to treat a variety of cancers, including ovarian, testicular, lung, cervical, bladder, head and neck, and gastric cancers as well as lymphoma, melanoma, and more. Although it offers options for many cancer types, its use may result in nephrotoxicity, a dose-limiting side effect. Use of hydration and diuretics may help reduce its incidence, but no standards or best practices are in place to guide those treatments.
FDA Approves Tisagenlecleucel for Adults with Relapsed or Refractory Large B-Cell Lymphoma
On May 1, 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved tisagenlecleucel a CD19-directed genetically modified autologous T-cell immunotherapy, for adult patients with relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma after two or more lines of systemic therapy including diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) not otherwise specified, high grade B-cell lymphoma and DLBCL arising from follicular lymphoma.
Regular Exercise May Improve Outcomes in Patients With Lung Cancer
In addition to lowering cancer risk, regular exercise before lung cancer surgery may improve postoperative outcomes, especially in lung cancer, according to the results of a literature review published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
How Does Mentorship Help New Oncology Nurse Authors Get Published?
Writing and publishing for the first time can be a daunting experience, but the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing (CJON) Writing Mentorship Program is a great opportunity for oncology nurses looking to publish their own work. The program pairs published nurses who share their experiences and expertise with ONS members who are new to the publishing process.
Insurer Group Warns Against Short-Term Health Plan Proposal; Medicaid Won’t Look the Same in 2019; Rapid Autopsy Programs Seek Clues to Cancer Within Hours of Death
Earlier in 2018, the Trump administration proposed a new rule that would permit Americans to buy short-term health insurance for up to 12 months, breaking from an Obama-era regulation that limited short-term health plans to a maximum of three months. To some, the proposed extension would potentially extend coverage to Americans interested in insuring themselves and their families. However, the America’s Health Insurance Plans group is on the other side of the argument, insisting that temporary plans—for any length of time—are no substitute to real coverage. Short-term plans are not covered by Affordable Care Act regulations, and it could lead to patients with pre-existing conditions being charged more for temporary insurance.
How DNA Revolutionized Oncology Care
April 25, 2018, marks National DNA Day. Why the hype? National DNA Day commemorates the successful completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003, and the discovery of DNA's double helix in 1953. Without DNA, understanding the diseases and treatments for cancer would be nearly impossible. Genetics and genomics play huge roles in treating malignancy, and it’s crucial to the care of patients with cancer for oncology nurses to understand genetics and genomics.
Labs Differ Widely in BRCA Testing Protocols
An international survey of 86 genetic testing labs showed inconsistent protocols and standards for analyzing the BRCA1 or 2 cancer susceptibility genes and their variations. The results were reported in NPJ Genomic Medicine.
FDA Approves Fostamatinib Tablets for ITP
On April 17, 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved fostamatinib disodium hexahydrate tablets for the treatment of thrombocytopenia in adult patients with chronic immune thrombocytopenia who have had an insufficient response to a previous treatment.
FDA Approves Everolimus for TSC-Associated Partial-Onset Seizures
On April 10, 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved everolimus tablets for oral suspension for the adjunctive treatment of adult and pediatric patients aged 2-years and older with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC)-associated partial-onset seizures. Everolimus is also approved for two other manifestations of TSC: TSC-associated subependymal giant cell astrocytoma (SEGA) and TSC-associated renal angiomyolipoma.
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.