A Wilmot Cancer Institute oncologist is to be one of the many faces included in a dynamic, opening-day video montage at the nation’s largest meeting for cancer specialists.
In a brief, taped message, Chunkit Fung, M.D., is to appear at the end of a broadcasted speech by Lori Pierce, M.D., president of the American Social of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). The ASCO meeting is virtual, and the opening session begins as 11 a.m. June 4 and extends through June 8.
Fung’s appearance, along with many other oncologists in the montage, fits with the meeting’s theme: “Equity: Every patient. Every day. Everywhere.” ASCO is headlining ways to ensure that all patients have access to and benefit from the latest cancer advances.
Earlier this year, Fung was the lead author of an editorial in ASCO’s Journal of Clinical Oncology that discussed the small but real risk of additional cancers arising among young survivors of testicular cancer. He specializes in treating genitourinary tumors at Wilmot.
In other ASCO news, two Wilmot investigators are scheduled to give separate talks on a condition known as “chemo brain,” and on geriatric oncology. Both studies are part of Wilmot’s Cancer Prevention & Control (CPC) research program, which is internationally respected for its contributions to improving side effects and toxicities related to cancer, and cancer-care delivery.
- Michelle Janelsins, Ph.D., M.P.H., a national leader in studying chemotherapy-related cognitive impairment (“brain fog,” or “chemo brain”), has new data showing that low-dose ibuprofen and exercise can help decrease poor attention, memory, and disruption of executive function during chemotherapy. Her previous work linked inflammation with cognitive difficulties, and exercise and ibuprofen are known to reduce inflammation. The phase 2 clinical trial involving 86 patients needs to be confirmed in a larger clinical study.
- Marielle Jensen Battaglia, a doctoral student being mentored by Richard Dunne, M.D., will present data confirming that a geriatric assessment tool — which gives an oncologist a fuller picture of an older patient’s physical and mental functioning — improves conversations and decisions about treatment. In 2019, the value of geriatric assessments took the national spotlight when JAMA Oncology published a study involving 541 patients across the U.S., showing that specialized assessments for adults older than 70 greatly enhanced their cancer care. Supriya Mohile, M.D, M.S., the Philip and Marilyn Wehrheim Professor of Hematology/Oncology at Wilmot, led that study.
The more recent data was a secondary analysis of the original randomized, controlled trial, with Dunne as senior author. It also shows that providing oncologists with a geriatric assessment report is useful for creating tailored interventions that address problems such as preventing falls and improving memory and cognitive function.
A Wilmot oncology fellow, Sindhuja Kadambi, M.D., also was one of 95 early-career researchers to receive an ASCO21 Conquer Cancer Young Investigator Award. Mentored by Allison Magnuson, D.O., Kadambi was recognized for developing ways to help older caregivers of geriatric oncology patients.
Several other Wilmot clinicians and scientists showcased abstracts at the meeting. Topics included:
- The extended long-term benefits of the drug ibrutinib to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in older patients (Paul Barr, M.D., first author);
- A study on restricting eating to a 10-hour window for two weeks, to reduce cancer-related fatigue, was safe and feasible (Amber Kleckner, Ph.D., first author);
- The pro-inflammatory markers sTNFRI, sTNFRII andIL6/IL10 may serve as biomarkers to identify patients at risk of reduced physical function after chemotherapy (Nikesha Gilmore, Ph.D., first author);
- A secondary analysis of a previous study highlighting misunderstandings about whether a patient’s cancer can be cured. It showed that among 347 older people with advanced cancer, those who felt more supported by their social networks were more likely to understand that their cancer was not curable (Lee Kehoe, M.D., first author).