Friday Frontline: Cancer Updates, Research and Education on July 10, 2020

July 10, 2020

From a new trial in Canada looking at therapeutics to help prevent severe symptoms of COVID-19 in patients with cancer to updated guidelines from the American Cancer Society on taking the HPV vaccine to prevent certain cancers, here’s what’s making the headlines in the cancer space this week.

A national clinical trial is underway in Canada to explore the use of treatments to help strengthen patients’ immune systems to protect them from developing severe symptoms of COVID-19.

Researchers from The Ottawa Hospital are looking at the potential of IMM-101, a therapeutic of heat-killed bacteria that would stimulate the immune system to benefit patients with cancer, whose immune systems are often already compromised.

"These patients are unable to practice social isolation due to the need to regularly attend hospital to receive critically important cancer treatment," said Dr. Chris O'Callaghan, who will oversee the trial as a part of the Queen’s University group, in an interview. Researchers cited an urgent need for this therapeutic, as a vaccine for COVID-19 could still be more than a year away.

The trial will consist of 1,500 patients with cancer currently receiving treatment, who will be randomly assigned to receive either regular care or regular care plus IMM-101.

The Aplastic Anemia and MDS International Foundation (AAMDSIF) National March for Marrow fundraising and awareness event has officially gone virtual.

The National March for Marrow fundraiser is an annual event hosted by the AAMDSIF for survivors, caregivers, patients and their family and friends to run or walk in support of patients with aplastic anemia, myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) and related bone marrow failure diseases.

With the disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic and guidelines to continue social distancing, the AAMDSIF has shifted to a virtual event, allowing for participants to log their steps and miles in support of the event or donate online without having to leave their home.

Participants have until July 18th to raise funds and can walk or run at any time. Those interested can register here.

A young cancer survivor is starting a toy drive for children with cancer being treated at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, where he was treated for his own cancer two years ago.

Barylon Simon was 6 years-old when he was diagnosed with stage 3 nodular lymphocyte predominant Hodgkin's lymphoma and was treated at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital. In 2019, he celebrated his one-year anniversary of being cancer free by starting this toy drive for kids undergoing treatment and now wants to expand the event for his second-year anniversary.

“When you have an appointment and you're nervous about it or you are upset because your port needs to be accessed and you don’t enjoy that, they give the kids presents to brighten up their day a little bit,” said Kayla Simon, Braylon’s Mom, when discussing how the toys help kids undergoing treatment. Braylon and his family are currently collecting toys and asking for donations, but are also encouraging people outside of the community to donate toys to Nationwide Hospital. The drive will continue through the end of the month and Braylon will be dropping the toys off at the hospital on August 2nd after he has his two-year scan.

The American Cancer Society has updated their guidelines and recommendations for the use of the HPV vaccine, recommending that children 9 to 12 to get the vaccine and help prevent multiple types of cancer.

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common virus that is a cause for multiple types of cancer including cervical cancer and some cancers of the vuvla, vagina, penis, anus and oropharynx (back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils) according to the Centers for Disease Control. The current HPV vaccination given to children between the ages of 9 and 12 can help prevent 90% of HPV related cancers and the American Cancer Society is advocating for parents to have their children given the vaccine.

“The American Cancer Society recommends that boys and girls get the HPV vaccine between the ages of 9 and 12. Teens and young adults through age 26 who are not already vaccinated should get the HPV vaccine as soon as possible. Teens who start the series late may need three shots instead of two,” said the American Cancer Society in their updated guidelines.


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