The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) recently held its annual scientific meeting in a three-day virtual event. One of the major topics addressed at the meeting was the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on cancer patients. As one might expect, ASCO reported, “In patients with cancer and COVID-19, cancer that is progressing was independently associated with an increased risk of death, according to an analysis of 928 patients.”
According to data from the COVID-19 and Cancer
Consortium (CCC19) registry, which included a variety of cancer types, the 30-day mortality and severe illness rates in this group of patients studied were significantly higher than previously reported for the general population. The report concluded that longer follow-up is needed … “to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on outcomes in patients with cancer, including the ability to continue specific cancer treatments.”
As a result of this crisis, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute (FCS) has instituted many new protocols to help protect the safety and well-being of our patients and clinical staff. These include offering telehealth video appointments to patients when appropriate, visitor restrictions at our clinics, daily health screenings for patients and staff, as well as the use of masks, social distancing and other safety measures.
Despite the concerns COVID-19 is causing, FCS is continuing to pursue cancer research through its strategic partnership with Sarah Cannon Research Institute, one of the leading clinical trial organizations in the world. The clinical research program at FCS encompasses Phase I, Phase II and Phase III trials for a wide range of cancer types; the majority of new cancer treatments approved for use in the U.S. were first studied in clinical trials with FCS participation, prior to approval.
Advances Continue in Immunotherapy Research
One of the major areas of research continues to be immunotherapy. More than a dozen types of cancer are now receiving FDA-approved immunotherapies, and there are a variety of clinical trials for even more types of cancer. There are several different types of immunotherapy treatment; however, all of these
therapies use the body’s own immune system to attack cancer cells. Specifically, at the ASCO scientific meeting, presentations were made on novel immunotherapies for glioma (a type of brain cancer), kidney and bladder cancers, as well as melanoma skin cancer, among others.
Advances in Diagnosing Cancer
An increasing understanding of the molecular basis of cancer has enabled advances in detecting and diagnosing cancer, as well as determining which patients are likely to benefit from certain types of targeted therapies. The term “molecular diagnostics” describes a group of tests that can identify certain
biomarkers from blood, urine, tumor or other samples that could help identify cancer cells earlier. New tests continue to be developed that offer much promise
for detecting disease at a very early stage and for implementing personalized patient care.
World-Class Cancer Treatment, Close to Home Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute (FCS) has a statewide network of expert, board-certified physicians who bring world‐class cancer treatments to local communities, both large and small, in locations throughout Florida. FCS is also a strategic partner of the Sarah Cannon Research Institute, one of the leading clinical trial organizations in the world. This alliance provides FCS patients access to the newest, most innovative and most promising new treatments.
Florida Cancer Specialists treats patients with all types of cancer and offers a number of services, including an in-house specialty pharmacy, an in-house pathology lab, financial counselors at every location and 24/7 access to care managers, who help deliver the most advanced and personalized care in your local community.
For more information, visit FLCancer.com
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