Advances for Lung and Prostate Cancer Patients

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of two new advances promise to transform the detection of prostate cancer and the treatment of lung cancer.

On May 26, the FDA approved Pylarify, a molecule injected prior to positron emission tomography (PET) imaging that reveals prostate cancer cells on the scan. Pylarify does not replace prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening, but will allow physicians to determine the extent of prostate cancer in patients suspected of having or diagnosed with the disease. Dr. Michael Morris led the phase III clinical trial at MSK. Read more from NBC News, Healio.com, and MSK.

On May 28, the FDA approved the use of sotorasib (Lumakras) in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer who have the KRAS-G12C genetic mutation and have already tried another treatment modality. This treatment was the culmination of almost 40 years of research, and was spearheaded through clinical trials by MSK’s Dr. Bob Li. Learn more from Good Morning America, TargetedOnc.com, and MSK.

Clear Masks Improve Patient-Provider Communication

Even before the pandemic, masks hampered communication for patients with hearing impairment. An experience MSK nurse Brianna DiTullio had with an immunocompromised patient in 2019 inspired her to research the use of clear masks. She recently shared her results at the Oncology Nursing Society’s Annual Conference. They were reported by Oncology Nursing News.

In her study, DiTullio first surveyed 6 patients with hearing impairment to establish a baseline for their speech perception. Staff members wore clear masks when meeting with the patients over two days, after which the patients took a follow-up survey. The results were notable: before the switch to clear masks, 67% of the patients reported often having difficulty understanding staff. After the intervention, this number decreased to 33% of the patients. Patients also reported an increase in trust levels of hospital staff.

DiTullio recommends that hospitals invest in clear masks to allow for communication with this significant patient population.

Unraveling the Complexities of Metastasis

Dr. Adrienne Boire

Adrienne Boire, MD, PhD. Photo: Karsten Moran.

An April feature in The Scientist explores the current landscape of metastasis research.

Framing the story is the work of MSK’s Dr. Adrienne Boire. When she was a clinical and postdoctoral fellow at MSK, a young patient asked her why and how cancer metastasized to her spinal fluid.

The interaction changed the focus of Boire’s research. She now leads a lab at MSK where she and her collaborators are making inroads into understanding the biology of metastatic cells.

Learn more about the Boire Lab in this 2019 video.