Browsing: COVID-19 Pandemic

Cancer patients are at increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe COVID-19 courses. Coronavirus vaccination is generally recommended for cancer patients, but so far little is known about how well they respond to the vaccine. In a study now published in the JAMA Oncology, an interdisciplinary team of researchers from MedUni Vienna and Vienna General Hospital, Austria, led by Matthias Preusser, was able to show that the type of cancer treatment influences the vaccine response: patients undergoing chemotherapy had lower antibody levels than patients undergoing targeted therapy. The scientists from the Department of Medicine I (Division of Oncology and Division of…

C Raina MacIntyre, UNSW; Anne Kavanagh, The University of Melbourne; Eva Segelov, Monash University, and Lisa Jackson Pulver, University of Sydney The latest New South Wales roadmap to recovery outlines a range of freedoms for fully vaccinated people in the state when 80% of those aged 16 and over are vaccinated. Unvaccinated people will remain restricted, but will have the same freedoms by December 1, when 90% of adults are expected to be vaccinated. The relaxing of restrictions will occur in three stages, at the 70%, 80% and 90% vaccination mark, with many restrictions dropped by December 1. This includes…

The cancer and Covid-19 research dashboard is a public resource that lists research projects looking at the impact of Covid-19 on cancer care and patients. The dashboard was developed by NCRI, Cancer Research UK, the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (NCRAS), and the Cancer Alliance Data, Evaluation and Analysis Service (CADEAS), UK. The intention is to drive collaborations in the field and identify gaps in research activity or opportunities for new research. The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted cancer services and patients, driving new research into quantifying and understanding this impact across the pathway, including changes to the detection, treatment,…

In a study titled “Disease and therapy-specific impact on humoural immune responses to COVID-19 vaccination in hematologic malignancies,” researchers reported that patients with leukaemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma all had fewer antibodies at one and three months post-vaccination than people without cancer. Peak antibody response was stronger in females than males, and the Moderna vaccine elicited a stronger response than the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Lead author David J. Chung, MD, PhD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) and colleagues also found that many patients had insufficient neutralising capacity following vaccination despite positive antibody titers. This study represents the largest dataset…

The long-awaited confirmation of the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccination in patients with cancer has arrived, on time to be disseminated to a global audience at the annual congress of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO Congress 2021), the leading professional society for medical oncology. With a multitude of studies supporting similar conclusions still to be presented, new research revealed today that individuals with cancer have an appropriate, protective immune response to vaccination without experiencing any more side-effects than the general population. Indirect evidence suggests that a third “booster” shot could further increase the level of protection among this patient population. As…

The number of 18 to 34 year-olds in England who smoke increased by 25% in the first lockdown, according to a study published in the journal Addiction and funded by Cancer Research UK. This equates to over 652,000 more young adults smoking compared to before the pandemic, according to the charity’s estimates. The researchers also found that the number of high-risk drinkers rose by 40%, meaning that, during the first lockdown, over 4.5 million adults would be classed as high-risk drinkers. This trend was particularly worrying in women (up 55%) as well as people from lower socioeconomic groups (up 64%). There’s no ‘safe’ level…

There is increasing concern about rising rates of mental ill-health and suicide among doctors. We seek their advice when we’re not well. They comfort us with their expertise, and we trust them to perform life-saving procedures in high-risk scenarios. Yet, from the outside, we often don’t appreciate the stressors that come with being a highly skilled medical doctor and the mental health toll this uniquely high-pressure occupation can take. A recent review led by the Black Dog Institute and UNSW Sydney that was published in The Lancet has revealed doctors are at increased risk of suicide and, in their early years of training, one-quarter to one-third reported significant mental ill-health. The researchers said while this was an increasing issue even before the COVID-19 pandemic, there is emerging evidence that the impact of…

C Raina MacIntyre, UNSW New South Wales plans to relax restrictions when vaccination targets of 70% and 80% of those aged 16 years and over are met. The national plan was based on the assumption there would be just 30 cases when restrictions were lifted. However, NSW may have cases in the hundreds or thousands when restrictions are relaxed. The current discussion has been around “the peak” occurring during current restrictions. But modelling from my team at UNSW shows if current restrictions are relaxed while a large proportion of the community is unvaccinated, a larger, second peak may occur that…

Peter Mac’s C-SMART trial continues to investigate whether daily use of a medicated nasal spray could be protect cancer patients from viral respiratory infections, including COVID-19. Melbourne’s C-SMART trial is relaunching the next phase of an important study looking at whether a nasal spray could prove effective in our fight against COVID-19 and other viruses. Led by the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and the National Centre for Infections in Cancer (NCIC), the trial is studying whether a low dose of the drug Interferon-alpha (delivered as a daily nasal spray) could help protect those with compromised immune systems from COVID-19. Interferon…

Scientists from the University of Oxford and the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research are building on the success of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 to develop a vaccine to treat cancer. Researchers have designed a two-dose therapeutic cancer vaccine using Oxford’s viral vector vaccine technology. When tested in mouse tumour models, the cancer vaccine increased the levels of anti-tumour T cells infiltrating the tumours and improved the efficacy of cancer immunotherapy. Compared to immunotherapy alone, the combination with the vaccine showed a greater reduction in tumour size and improved the survival of the mice. The study, which was done by…

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