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Black Participation in Clinical Trials Is Imperative to Reduce Racial Disparities in Multiple Myeloma

By Kayle Waterhouse African Americans must be properly represented in clinical trials to ensure equal treatment for multiple myeloma and other cancers, top oncologists told SurvivorNet Connect.  Dr. Ajay Nooka, a hematologist-oncologist at the Winship Cancer Institute, says Blacks are underrepresented in clinical trials. He states that “20% of the patients that we treat for […]

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If You’ve Ever Worked in a Lab and Everyone Thought You Were Crazy, Here’s Some Inspiration from Nobel Laureate Jim Allison…

In 2018 Jim Allison, an immunology researcher at MD Anderson Cancer Center, won the Nobel Prize for Physiology of Medicine. The most prestigious recognition in the world was the result of years of painstaking research in immunology. His scientific contributions were seen as a breakthrough as he was the pioneer of a revolutionary cancer treatment called CTLA-4 checkpoint inhibitor drugs.

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First Positive Trial in Early-Stage NSCLC in 15 Years, According to Dr. Patrick Forde

Osimertinib (brand name: TAGRISSO) significantly improves disease-free survival and reduces the risk of recurrence in patients with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-positive early-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) following a gross total resection when compared to placebo. The ADAURA trial, published this past October in The New England Journal of Medicine, suggests that osimertinib is an effective adjuvant treatment after complete tumor resection.

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Weighing the Risks of Multiple Myeloma Therapy in the Time of COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the country, cancer specialists had to weigh the risks of treating multiple myeloma to prevent morbidity and mortality, with the dangers of virus exposure in their patients. SurvivorNet's experts say treatment decisions often hinge on geographic location.

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Next Level HRD Testing and How to Make Better Decisions

Dr. Thomas Herzog notes the importance of an HRD test, “Getting an HRD for me would be important. I think the next gen sequencing doesn’t lead to new treatments all that often. My counter-argument to that is that we’re learning more and more. We really want to move the field forward and we need to get that information."

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Viewpoints

Clinical developments explained by the country's leading voices on cancer care

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Oral Azacitidine May Increase Survival in Older Patients with AML

Maintenance therapy with the oral version of azacitidine (brand name: ONUREG) significantly improves disease-free survival in older adults with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) who have achieved complete remission on intensive chemotherapy, according to research published in the journal Blood. This is the first time a maintenance therapy has shown a survival advantage in older adults, who make up the vast majority of AML patients.

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The Evolution to BTK Inhibitors in CLL Treatment

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) treatment used to be one-size-fits-all. Today, the approach has shifted to more targeted therapies, thanks to the introduction of the Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitors. Dr. James Gerson, hematologist-oncologist at Penn Medicine, tells SurvivorNet Connect that he prefers acalabrutinib (brand name: Calquence) because it has fewer side effects than ibrutinib in a similar patient population.

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Metastatic Lung Cancer — Deciding on Next Steps

Biomarker testing can guide you to the initial targeted treatment for patients with metastatic lung cancer, but what happens when that first-line treatment stops holding the cancer at bay? Dr. Patrick Forde, thoracic oncologist at Johns Hopkins, suggests retesting to find a new therapeutic target.

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Should CAR T-Cell Therapy be the Standard Third Line Treatment for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma?

“If you don’t think of CAR T-cell therapy as a third line of therapy, you’re malpracticing,” Dr. Stephen Schuster, Penn Medicine hematologist/oncologist, tells SurvivorNet Connect. His concern is that, “It’s not yet gelled in the mind of all practicing oncologists that this is a reality for their patients.” Dr. Schuster is eager to raise awareness of CAR T-cell therapy because its success as third line therapy depends in large part on earlier therapeutic choices.

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Bispecific Antibodies Offer Lymphoma Patients a Promising New Therapeutic Option

Bispecific antibodies have exciting potential as a cancer therapy, due to their ability to simultaneously bind to two targets. Right now, this treatment is only available in investigational trials, but it has shown promising outcomes for patients with relapsed-refractory lymphoma who have already undergone a transplant, CAR T-cell therapy, or other lines of treatment.

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Belamaf is ‘First-In-Class’ New Therapy for Relapsed/Refractory Myeloma, But What’s Its Role in the Toolkit?

In August, the FDA granted belantamab mafodotin (Belamaf) accelerated approval for patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma who've received at least four prior therapies, including an anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody, a proteasome inhibitor, and an immunomodulatory agent.

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Calquence (Acalabrutinib) Has an Advantage Over Other BTK Inhibitors in CLL Treatment

Bruton tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitors have proven themselves highly effective for both treatment-naïve and relapsed/refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). The first-generation BTK inhibitor ibrutinib was followed by second-generation drugs such as acalabrutinib (brand name: Calquence), zanubrutinib and tirabrutinib, which have all shown good long-term efficacy and safety.

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Managing Physician Burnout

Practical guidance for avoiding and managing burnout

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How Physicians Can Prevent Physical and Emotional Burnout

“One of the first things we look for with burnout is exhaustion, and it can happen in both a physical and emotional way,” explains Dr. Marianna Strongin, a licensed clinical psychologist and founder of Strong in Therapy, her Manhattan-based private practice. Physical exhaustion is often a precursor to emotional exhaustion, but complicating burnout diagnosis and treatment in physicians is the fact that they’ve been trained to work through physical exhaustion and even to ignore it.

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Addressing Work-Life Balance Essential for Doctors’ Mental Health

More than half of physicians surveyed say they've struggled to maintain a healthy work-life balance, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the problem.

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Practical Steps for Physician Burnout

Therapy for physicians is important. Providers can be consumers of therapy, and there should be no shame in seeking help. Dr. Elizabeth Jewell says to identify risk factors. “Middle-aged women, and associate professors tend to be high risk [for mental health issues]. A lot of it has to do with busier clinical practices, job expectations, and responsibilities at home. As a society, we need to figure that out.”

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COVID-19 Could Lead to Dangerous Levels of Physician Burnout — How Can We Change the Culture of Medicine?

Working to the extreme is a hazard of the medical profession. In January 2020, 42% of physicians surveyed reported feeling exhausted and overwhelmed, otherwise known as burnout. And that was before COVID-19 sent a flood of new patients into medical offices and hospitals.

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Practical Advice for Physicians Struggling with Mental Illness

A mental health crisis is going on right now, and acknowledging it is a first step in addressing the problem. The demanding pace of the industry puts physicians at high risk for burnout, particularly in the midst of the high-stress environment that a global pandemic brings.

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COVID-19 Pandemic Reinforces the Need to Care for Your Mental Health

Fear of being perceived as weak or unable to do their jobs has created a stigma that prevents many physicians from accessing the mental health care they need. Inadequate treatment may be one reason why the risk for suicide is so much higher among doctors than it is in the general population.

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PARP Inhibitor Developments

How PARP inhibitors such as Olaparib (brand name: Lynparza) are changing ovarian cancer treatment and boosting survival for women

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Progression-Free Survival With Olaparib (Lynparza) in SOLO-1 Study “Dramatic and Impressive”

Over the last few years, we have been more strategically targeting ovarian cancer treatment based on a patient’s BRCA or homologous recombination deficiency (HRD) status. “We’ve seen a complete transformation in how we think about ovarian cancer,” says Dr. Stephanie Wethington, gynecologic oncologist at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

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Breaking Down the PAOLA Trial — Who Benefits from Olaparib (Lynparza)?

In the PAOLA trial, ovarian cancer patients received either bevacizumab alone or bevacizumab plus olaparib (brand name: Lynparza) after their frontline therapy. “And what they found in this trial was very interesting,” says Dr. John Nakayama, gynecologic oncologist with Allegheny Health Network in Pittsburgh.

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PARP Inhibitors Boost Survival in Ovarian Cancer, Prompting New ASCO Guidelines on Their Use

PARP inhibitors are a class of drugs that inhibit one of the backup systems of DNA damage repair. Ovarian cancers with BRCA1, BRCA2, or certain other mutations have a defect in a major DNA damage repair pathway and are highly dependent on secondary pathways for their survival.

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Decision Making Around PARP Inhibitors Such as Olaparib (Lynparza) in Frontline Maintenance

The typical treatment for patients with advanced ovarian cancer is surgery plus platinum-based chemotherapy. Although most patients go into remission following this regimen, an estimated 70% relapse within the next three years.

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Should PARP Inhibitors Be Offered to All Women?

When it comes to PARP inhibitors, Dr. Rebecca Arend of the University of Alabama says, “The message is not that each patient should get a PARP inhibitor no matter what, but that it is an awareness that we need to put out into the community.”

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Evaluating Risks versus Benefits of PARP Inhibitors for Ovarian Cancer Patients

Prescribing any medication or course of treatment involves weighing the risks versus the benefits to the patient, but balancing this equation is particularly crucial with cancer drugs which carry significant side effects and toxicity. As the data on treating ovarian cancer with PARP inhibitors becomes more promising and their use becomes more widespread, oncologists are looking for information on patient tolerance.

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To Treat Ovarian Cancer With PARP Inhibitors or Not: Factoring the Progression-Free Survival Benefit and Side Effects Into the Decision

PARP inhibitors like niraparib (Zejula) are an effective tool against ovarian cancer. The NOVA trial established that niraparib as maintenance therapy in platinum-sensitive patients significantly improved progression-free survival compared to placebo, regardless of women's BRCA or homologous recombination deficiency (HRD) status. Then, the PRIMA study found the treatment extended PFS in patients with newly diagnosed ovarian cancer, with or without HRD deficiency.

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Identifying Ovarian Cancer Patients for PARP Inhibitors

How to determine which ovarian cancer patients will benefit most from PARP inhibitors such as olaparib (brand name: Lynparza) is still a big question in oncology. “If you're going to use a selective strategy to identify patients for PARP inhibitors, there are different approaches, different pathways,” says Dr. Stephanie Wethington, gynecologic oncologist at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

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PARP Inhibitors and Recurrent Platinum-Sensitive Ovarian Cancer

Treating Recurrence after PARP Therapy Maintenance therapy with PARP inhibitors is still relatively new There are no clear guidelines yet for how to treat women with platinum-sensitive tumors when they recur after PARP maintenance therapy New trials, such as MEDIOLA, suggest a triplet option Four years ago the FDA approved the first PARP inhibitor (niraparib) […]

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Progress through collective wisdom and collaborative energy

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