Jeffrey Weber, MD, PhD, on Coronavirus, Cancer, and Immunotherapy: Navigating Clinical Trials and Treatment
Jeffrey Weber, MD, PhD, of NYU Langone Medical Center, offers his perspective on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on oncology care and cancer clinical trials, as clinicians strive to provide optimal treatment to patients while reducing their risk of contracting the coronavirus. The steep decline in trial enrollment has recovered, with many of the changes in how research was conducted as a result of the pandemic still in place and improving the process going forward.
Patrick Hwu, MD, of Moffitt Cancer Center and President of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC), and Mary Dean, JD, CAE, SITC Executive Director, discuss the organization’s mission, strides made in cancer immunology, meeting the challenge of immunoresistance, and the new SITC app for clinical practice guidelines. This app places a useful tool in the hands of health-care providers, one that can be continually updated as the science evolves.
Hannah E. Dzimitrowicz, MD, of Duke Cancer Center, discusses study results showing that in patients with melanoma and renal cell cancer receiving immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy, the COVID-19 vaccination appears to be well tolerated and safe. A higher rate of post-vaccination symptoms reported in these patients is likely related to more frequent visits compared with controls (Abstract 625).
Emily Z. Keung, MD, of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses the complex interactions of immune infiltrates and neoadjuvant immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) in patients with resectable soft-tissue sarcoma. These interactions may hold the key to understanding pathologic response to ICB and ICB resistance (Abstract 379).
Hans Wildiers, MD, of University Hospitals Leuven, discusses the final results from the phase IIb AIPAC study, which suggested that eftilagimod added to paclitaxel may be of benefit to patients older than 65 years with hormone receptor–positive, HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer after endocrine-based therapy. Eftilagimod, which is a first-in-class antigen presenting cell activator, appeared to increase circulating CD4/CD8 T cells, which correlated to improved overall survival (Abstract 948).
Stephanie T. Schmidt, PhD, of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses the first integrated examination of the immunomodulatory effects of neoadjuvant chemotherapy, nivolumab, and nivolumab plus chemotherapy in resected non–small cell lung cancer (Abstract 962).