Members of the ACCC IO Institute Executive Committee discuss the importance of tailoring immunotherapy patient education based on the unique needs of each cancer center. (features David Ettinger, MD, FACP, FCCP; Mark Faries, MD; and Niesha Griffith, MS, RPH, FASHP )
As more patients with cancer are treated with immunotherapy and as treatment regimens continue to evolve, the multidisciplinary cancer care team needs ongoing education and training to ensure that patients receive optimal care. To provide the best care possible for patients treated with IO agents, providers need access to timely and relevant education to improve cancer diagnosis and patient selection, the recognition and management of immune-related adverse events (irAEs), and the effective use of survivorship care plans. The IO Training & Education Working Group is composed of multidisciplinary care providers experienced in the delivery of immunotherapy for cancer.
Meet the members of the IO Training & Education Working Group.
Shelley Fuld Nasso is chief executive officer of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS), where she leads the public policy activities at a time of rapid and fundamental healthcare system change.
Prior to joining NCCS in 2012, Ms. Nasso served in leadership roles at Susan G. Komen, where she leveraged Komen’s grassroots network in Washington, D.C., and state capitals. There she built relationships with policymakers and partner organizations and led a team of staff and volunteers to influence state budgets and legislation. Under her direction, Komen successfully secured $80 million in state funding for cancer screening and treatment for uninsured and underinsured women.
Ms. Nasso and her team also expanded the Komen grassroots advocacy program from a pilot of seven affiliates to more than 100 affiliates across the country engaged in federal and state advocacy efforts. Formerly, she served as director of community philanthropy at The Dallas Foundation and held management positions at communications and technology enterprises.
Dr. Hudson-DiSalle is the manager in the Medication Assistance Program and Reimbursement Services at the Wexner Medical Center and James Cancer Hospital in Columbus, OH. She is responsible for managing and advocating for the Medication Assistance Program for patients who cannot afford their medications, as well as overseeing reimbursement authorization for off label medication use, high dollar therapy usage, infused medication and medication denials. Dr. Hudson-DiSalle serves on the Board of the Charitable Pharmacy of Central Ohio, the Health Policy Committee of the Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association (HOPA), and the Legislative Committee of the Ohio Society of Health System Pharmacists.
Joanne Riemer, RN, BSN, began her nursing career at Johns Hopkins Hospital as an inpatient nurse on the solid tumor oncology unit. From there she moved into critical care in coronary care, intensive care, emergency, and recovery rooms. In 2002, she returned to oncology at Johns Hopkins in the outpatient infusion area, then radiation oncology, staff education, and in 2010 to her current position as senior research nurse on the Upper Aero-digestive Team. In January 2011, she was asked to work with the immunology group on a multidisease study using MDX-1106, which became BMS-936558 and then Nivolumab. She was assigned to the non-small cell lung cancer patients and since then has been almost exclusively working with immunotherapy trials.
In addition to her involvement with the immunotherapy trials, she and fellow colleagues created a booklet for oncology nurses treating patients with immuno-oncology agents. The booklet is an overview of these agents' indications and mechanisms of action and suspected related side effects.
Ryan Weight, DO, MS, joined the University of Colorado School of Medicine faculty in 2019 as an assistant professor of medicine with a focus on the treatment of skin malignancies, including melanoma. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Weight served as an assistant professor of medicine at Thomas Jefferson University School of Medicine in Philadelphia. In 2017, Dr. Weight was appointed leader of the cutaneous malignancy service line within the melanoma division of medical oncology. Dr. Weight established and served as co-director of the Complex Cutaneous Oncology Multidisciplinary Clinic in the Center for Heritable and Connective Tissue Skin Diseases, which brought together dermatology and medical oncology services for the treatment of dysplastic nevus syndrome, patients with a genetic predisposition to skin cancer, erythema bullosum, and others.
Dr. Weight has an interest in the management of immune-related adverse events caused by immune-activating therapies commonly used for the treatment of skin cancers. He served as director of the Immuno-Oncology Clinical Working Group at Thomas Jefferson University (2016- 2018), and as principal investigator for a number of clinical trials focused on the treatment of melanoma, including early phase trials. He has co-authored a multi-center adjuvant study of Nivolumab for the treatment of resected high-risk melanoma patients.
Immuno-oncology (IO) has radically altered the patient care paradigm. One of most important changes attributed to IO is improvement in outcomes and lengthening of survival. This good news comes with multiple challenges, not least of which is the need for new and better communication and coordination among multiple specialties over time.
Are you leveraging the assets of your oncology pharmacists in delivery of immunotherapy for cancer? Oncology pharmacists multidisciplinary team members who help bridge the gap between science and real-world medical practice. Sarah Hudson-DiSalle, PharmD, RPh, describes how your IO program can make the best use of the oncology pharmacist's diverse skillset.
The human gastrointestinal tract is inhabited by a diverse
population of bacteria that play a crucial role in maintaining
homeostasis both within the gut and within the body. How much do we know about the gut microbiome as it relates to cancer treatment?
As with other high-cost treatments, integration of immunotherapies
into practice requires a thorough understanding
of payer policies and requirements for reimbursement. Sarah Hudson-DiSalle, PharmD, RPh, shares key steps for successful reimbursement for cancer immunotherapies.
A forthright conversation between the treating clinician, patient and family members on the importance of self-reporting adverse events must take place prior to consideration of combination immunotherapy.
Research nurse Joannne Riemer, RN, BSN, started her position at Johns Hopkins Medical Institution in 2010. Within six months, she was working with checkpoint inhibitors. From her vantage point in clinical trials research, she discusses the many changes in IO clinical trials patient selection over the last eight years.