Genetically Modified T-cell Therapy for Patients with CLL: The Role of the Oncology Nurse 

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Quality nursing and ongoing education are critical for success in using gene-modified T-cell therapy for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), said Cheryl Caravano, RN, at the recent Annual Congress of the Oncology Nursing Society.  Ms. Caravano is a clinical nurse IV at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

“Nursing plays a pivotal role in delivering cutting-edge technology to the bedside,” Ms. Caravano said. In her presentation, she discussed the novel T-cell therapy, the nurse’s role in treatment of patients with CLL, and the multidisciplinary collaboration required in the care of outpatients receiving genetically modified T-cell therapy.

Education Key to Success

One goal of the project was to give oncology nurses the education tools and standard operating procedures needed to deliver excellent care to patients. The overall objective was to better understand how to use nursing to ensure safe T-cell treatment in an outpatient setting.

All nurses in the infusion and office practice areas were educated on T-cell therapy for CLL, including administration of therapy, patient eligibility for treatment, potential side effects, and nursing interventions. Standard operating procedures were developed for infusion of genetically modified T cells and management of side effects.

Before receiving outpatient treatment, patients were required to have had a partial or complete response with minimal residual disease after treatment with combination chemotherapy. Ms. Caravano reported that nursing played a crucial role in ensuring that this therapy was delivered to patients safely in the outpatient setting.

Ms. Caravano explained that “cutting-edge technologies [like gene-modified T-cell therapy] will likely be delivered at the bedside by a nurse. It is of utmost importance to incorporate [nurses] into the multidisciplinary team and to provide nurses with the education and procedures necessary to provide quality care,” she said. ■

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As of the ONS Annual Congress, three patients at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center had been successfully treated in the outpatient setting with genetically modified T cell therapy, without major events or readmissions to the hospital, reported study author Cheryl Caravano, RN. Ms. Caravano...