TOP - October 2010, Vol. 3, No 7

St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute (MSTI) provides advanced cancer care to patients at clinics in Boise, Fruitland, Meridian, Nampa, and Twin Falls, Idaho. Spanning more than 180 miles across southwestern Idaho, MSTI cares for patients from rural areas and from metropolitan areas. Because of geographic isolation, many people in rural areas present at later stages of disease. In addition, large Hispanic populations in the rural counties of the state are not getting screened for cancers on recommended timelines.

BOSTON—New data presented at the 50th Interscience Conference on Anti - microbial Agents and Chemo therapy (ICAAC) suggest that standard doses of antibiotics may not be the right dose for obese individuals and that obese patients may need higher doses for some agents. In addition, the researchers said that more studies are needed to determine correct dosages of drugs for the obese.

CHICAGO—Gene-expression profiling, combined with a novel chemoradiation regimen, may predict pathologic complete response in patients with esophageal cancer, according to new data presented at the 46th annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. New studies presented at this meeting highlighted several new “genetic fingerprinting” techniques that may improve and guide chemo therapy in specific cancer populations.

Ateam of oncology clinicians in New York has now started what they call “The Undiagnosed Cancer Clinic.” The clinic was launched more than 1 year ago, and it has become an important new resource for primary care providers and their patients in cases where cancer is suspected but a clear diagnosis is not indicated by symptom presentation and/or diagnostic tests.

CHICAGO—“Dasatinib 100 mg once daily should become frontline therapy in newly diagnosed chronic-phase chronic myelogenous leukemia,” said DASISION (Dasatinib versus Imatinib Study in Treatment-Naïve CML Patients; CA180-056) lead investigator Hagop M. Kantarjian, MD, The University of Texas, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston. Kantarjian’s statement was based on findings from the DASISION comparison of firstline dasatinib with first-line imatinib in patients with chronic-phase chronic myelogenous leukemia (CP-CML).

CHICAGO—Four-year follow-up of patients with chronic-phase chronic myelogenous leukemia (CP-CML) who have been resistant, suboptimally re - sponsive, or intolerant to prior imatinib therapy showed that dasatinib 100 mg once daily has the most favorable risk–benefit profile, with 66% progression- free survival (PFS) and 82% overall survival (OS).

CHICAGO—Routine screening for hepatitis B virus (HBV) in all patients being started on immunosuppressive therapy uncovers a significant percentage with HBV surface antigen (HBsAg) and HBV core antibody (HBcAb), said Emmy Ludwig, MD, at the 2010 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

As such, she recommends a universal screening program for HBV at all cancer centers. Chemotherapy and immuno suppressive drugs can cause reactivation of HBV in persons who have the virus, with morbid and potentially fatal consequences.

CHICAGO—Implementation of a roving pharmacist/nurse model for supportive care at the North Carolina Cancer Hospital resulted in a significant improvement in patient symptoms, researchers reported at a poster session at the 2010 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. The multidisciplinary Oncology Supportive Care Consult Service was started at the hospital in 2008. Members of the team include a medical oncologist, a clinical pharmacist practitioner, and a clinical nurse specialist.

CHICAGO—The benefit of bevacizumab in metastatic breast cancer was made clear in a meta-analysis of key trials presented by Joyce O’Shaughnessy, MD, of Baylor-Sammons Cancer Center and US On cology, during the 2010 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Healthcare is more than medicine and patient care. Physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and hospital administrators are realizing that healthcare is also a business. As a result, healthcare professionals are looking for ways to improve quality of care while lowering costs. College and universities are answering the call with business management courses geared toward medical professionals.

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