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COVID-19 Puts Supportive Care Studies on Hold for Patients With Lung Cancer


Dr. Richard J. Gralla discusses some of the studies in supportive care that have been put on hold due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced oncology centers to transition into intensive care units, while oncologists are making emergency rounds. As a result, this has also put a halt on emerging research in supportive care.

In an interview with CURE®, Dr. Ricahrd J Gralla details some of the interesting studies he and his colleagues at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine had to put on hold. Studies ranging from toxicities associated with PD-1 and PDL-1 agents in patients with lung cancer to looking at the timing of treatment and when they could switch treatment depending on side effects.


Most institutions, and for ours, studies that we were doing in supportive care in cancer were put on complete hold. And some studies that we were looking at, to really simplify antiemetics in many settings and really home in and prove we've had to put that on hold. There were some interesting areas that we were looking at where we were trying to predict, using some very interesting information, toxicities with anti PD-1 PDL-1 agents, could we predict from a genetic profile who's more likely to have those side effects and also do the same genes that we were looking at, predict the likelihood of response. That's partially based on the immune-genetics of thyroid disease, and we're trying to combine that. So, I hope we can get back to that fairly soon our chief of medicine at Montefiore. Dr. Yale, Tomer is an expert in this area. And as an immunologic endocrinologist, he's been very helpful to our thinking in this way into guiding some of our work.

Also, we've been looking at, can we tell within just two cycles of treatment within six weeks, who's likely to be benefiting from treatment and who is not? And is that a time early on to be able to make a change, and it's looking way beyond imaging, but also using patient reported outcomes to try to predict these things very early on. So far, the results are very encouraging.

So maybe we can get back to all of those when we have less COVID in our midst.

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