Symptom Management in Cancer
A new Journal of the National Cancer Institute monograph summarizes the 2002 NIH state-of-the-science conference on Symptom Management in Cancer: Pain, Depression, and Fatigue. An expert panel concluded that the available evidence supports a variety of interventions for treating cancer patients' pain, depression, and fatigue. Clinicians should routinely use assessment tools to ask patients about these symptoms and initiate evidence-based treatments. Assessment should include regular discussions about common symptoms experienced by cancer patients. Barriers to successful symptom management include incomplete effectiveness of some treatments, a lack of knowledge about treatment strategies, patient reluctance to report symptoms to caregivers, a belief that such symptoms are simply a part of the cancer experience that must be tolerated, and inadequate insurance coverage and reimbursement for some treatments. For additional information, go to http://jncicancerspectrum.oupjournals.org/jncimono/.
Rosenberg Discusses Immunotherapy
Dr. Steven Rosenberg, chief of the Surgery Branch at NCI's Center for Cancer Research (CCR), delivered the CCR Grand Rounds lecture on July 20. He discussed the development of promising immunotherapy treatments for cancer patients, particularly those that rely on transfer of lymphocytes that recognize and attack tumor cells. Unlike chemotherapy, Dr. Rosenberg noted, this kind of treatment continues to expand inside the body because successfully transferred tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes "grow explosively in the patient." Using examples from his research, Dr. Rosenberg demonstrated the goals and challenges ahead for immunotherapy.
Thorgeirsson Receives Membership to Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Dr. Snorri S. Thorgeirsson, chief of the Laboratory of Experimental Carcinogenesis in NCI's Center for Cancer Research, recently received an honorary foreign membership to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Dr. Mihaly Kokeny, Hungarian Minister for Health, Social and Family Affairs, and Zsuzsanna Jakab, Hungarian State Secretary for Health, Social and Family Affairs (shown above at right with Dr. Thorgeirsson and Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach) visited the NIH campus on July 9 to offer their personal congratulations. Dr. Thorgeirsson joined NCI in 1976; his research interests are centered on the elucidation of the molecular pathogenesis of human liver cancer, application of transgenic mouse models for human cancers, and stem cell biology of liver cancer.
H&R Block Co-Founder Richard Bloch Dies; Early Supporter of Clinical Trials
Richard Bloch, 78, co-founder of the H&R Block tax preparation company, died of a heart ailment on July 21. In 1978, Mr. Bloch was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, but after 2 years of aggressive treatment, he was cured. He and his wife Annette went on to found the R.A. Bloch Cancer Foundation in 1980 in Kansas City and donated to programs for cancer patients and survivors of the disease. Mr. Bloch served on the National Cancer Advisory Board and was a member of the Institute of Medicine and the President's Circle of the National Academy of Sciences.
Said Dr. Vincent T. DeVita, Jr., former NCI director and director of the Yale Cancer Center, "Richard Bloch was a real warrior. He set an example for cancer patients everywhere by not taking 'no' (I can't do anything for you) for an answer. He spent his life, after his first diagnosis of lung cancer 25 years ago - when told he had only months to live - trying to set up mechanisms for cancer patients to get independent second opinions, to assure access to the latest treatment. He fell in love with the concept we had for the PDQ system, and contributed time, energy, and his own resources in helping us build it."
Armstrong Wins Sixth Tour de France, Tour of Hope to Start in October
On July 25, cyclist and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong earned his sixth consecutive Tour de France victory. Since his diagnosis of testicular cancer in 1996, Armstrong has been a prominent advocate for cancer research and survivorship issues. In 2002, President Bush appointed him to the President's Cancer Panel. Armstrong teamed with Bristol-Myers Squibb to organize the Tour of Hope, a cross-country cycling journey to invigorate and inform the public about the importance of participating in cancer research. The 2004 Tour of Hope will begin in Los Angeles and conclude in Washington, D.C. More information is available online at www.tourofhope.org.