The February issue of The Oncology Nurse-APN/PA (TON) is filled with important news and insights for today’s oncology nurse. We begin our coverage with a profile of St. Luke’s Cancer Institute, Boise, ID, as we speak with Dia Byrne, MSN, RN, ACNS-BC, OCN, who discusses her professional responsibilities at the center, the rewards and challenges related to her day-to-day duties, and which advances in oncology she believes hold the most promise for improving patient outcomes.
“The most rewarding part of my job is knowing that I am helping patients with cancer. My aim is to influence not only their clinic outcomes, but also their overall care experience,” she told TON.
We also feature key presentations and studies from national and international meetings, including the NCCN 2019 Hematologic Malignancies meeting, the 2019 Supportive Care in Oncology Symposium, the ACCC 2019 National Oncology Conference, ESMO Congress 2019, and ASH 2019.
In a presentation at the NCCN 2019 Hematologic Malignancies meeting, Andrew D. Zelenetz, MD, PhD, Medical Oncologist, Division of Hematologic Malignancies, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York City, discussed the expanding role of biosimilars in the treatment of patients with cancer.
“If we’re going to make room for new innovations, we have to pay a little bit less [for these drugs] than we have been for the last 20 years,” he said.
In a noteworthy session at the 2019 Supportive Care in Oncology Symposium, Paul B. Jacobsen, PhD, FASCO, Associate Director, NCI Division of Cancer Control and Population Science, discussed the importance of incorporating research on the psychosocial issues associated with cancer into clinical practice.
“We have a robust body of observational, mechanistic, and interventional research on psychosocial issues and problems with people with cancer. But we haven’t systemically studied how to take this evidence and apply it in the real world,” he said.
Dr Jacobsen went on to say that although there are many things that clinicians still need to learn regarding psychosocial aspects of care, the more pressing need is implementation of the evidence that is already available.
In a separate session at the same meeting, Ali Haider, MD, MBBS, Assistant Professor, Department of Palliative, Rehabilitation, and Integrative Medicine, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, presented data from a retrospective analysis showing that inpatient palliative care services can reduce pain without increasing opioids in patients with advanced cancer.
“These data suggest that a multidimensional palliative care intervention is effective in improving pain control in many opioid-tolerant patients in the absence of opioid dose increase,” he said, adding that a randomized controlled trial focused on cancer pain in the hospitalized setting is needed to confirm the results.
At ASH 2019, experts presented encouraging results from a real-world study of CAR T-cell therapy in patients with lymphoma that may lead to broader use of this type of treatment in the future.
“A key take-home point is that older patients with multiple comorbidities can be successfully treated with CAR T-cells,” said the study’s lead investigator Karl M. Kilgore, PhD, Senior Research Scientist, Avalere Health, Bowie, MD. “Although this is not a randomized clinical trial, the data could make the case for older and sicker patients to get CAR T-cells,” he said.
We hope you enjoy this issue of TON and look forward to receiving your feedback. You can contact us via e-mail at [email protected].