Editor's Choice for May 2017

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Published: 24 May 2017
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Welcome to ecancer May and a quick run-through from me, my biases. I’m Gordon McVie, I’m the founding editor.

First off is a really nice review, our first nurses review, and this comes from Dr Tavares in Rio de Janeiro. He and his colleagues have done a really nice meta-analysis of the sorts of issues which are important for nursing care of cancer patients on chemotherapy and also on research. They’ve done a study of the entire literature in English but also in Portuguese from Brazil and in Spanish; they have isolated forty different areas of concern for nurses to learn about and also for nurses to do more research on. I really recommend that you have a look at this and see how medical management of patients looks from the point of view of the cancer nurses.

Also in Latin America we have a nice case report, it’s partly Latin American but it’s also partly from Miami from Beatriz Amendola, a terrific supporter of ecancer. This is a case report of a patient with a basal cell carcinoma spreading all over the scalp. Her group describe a new use of arc radiation therapy, a sort of volumetric scheme; I don’t really understand quite how they do it but what they do is good because it works and this is essentially giving radiation right around the scalp. Beatriz Amendola has been very helpful and key, really, to ecancer Latin America; she’s helped us with setting up a variety of meetings, a lot of satellite meetings, particularly on radiation technologies, and the next meeting that we’re advertising now is in Peru, October 13/14, and it’s on general oncology. The last one, two years ago, was just on breast cancer and it was a massive success with 400-500 oncologists there. If you want to register early it’s ecancer Peru is the website.

Then we’ve got a paper from Linda Cairns who is our science editor and she reviews a really niche area of science from a workshop which was held at IFOM in Milan. It’s all about the ataxia telangiectasia genes and the aberrations of those. Ataxia telangiectasia is more than just a cerebellar illness which can be crippling and fatal, it’s also linked up, certainly at a gene level, with cancer. It’s an intriguing story and this is the latest in the whole field of ataxia telangiectasia for you to look at.

We have an exceptionally rich harvest of videos and opinion leader interviews for you to look at from AACR, the big science meeting, in my view, in North America each year. Going through these interviews will give you the headlines of all that was important at the AACR meeting. Then going very local, we publish in Bristol in the southwest of England and just up the road is the University of Bath celebrating its 50th anniversary. They put on a cancer symposium which was really, really excellent. We took the opportunity of interviewing two international authorities in cancer research: Peter Jones came all the way from Grand Rapids where he’s in the new Van Andel Institute in Michigan. He’s the king of epigenetics in my book and he gave, as usual, a terrific talk and you’ll capture the essence of that on the video. Then Doug Hanahan who was a co-author of the Cancer Hallmarks Wheel, he’s the director of the Cancer Institute in Lausanne; again some really nice interviews.

On to the Impakt breast cancer meeting at which ecancer was running a satellite on CDK4/6 biology, checkpoint inhibitors and the way that these targets have been used to develop anti-cancer drugs. A quick résumé and you’ll learn all about it in twenty minutes.

Then lastly we have a very thriving medical education part of ecancer, as you know. We talked last month about the surgical training modules which we are developing, core surgical training modules, together with the University of Bristol. These are not specifically or only for surgeons who are training in cancer surgery. This month we are presenting, together with SIOG, the latest of a series of extraordinarily good teaching modules on patients who are over the age of 70, or whenever you become a geriatric, I’m certainly one of them so I don’t think about it. On this teaching module SIOG and ecancer are talking about oral chemotherapy. Of course people prefer to get tablets or capsules or liquids rather than have injections but it’s not all plain sailing. You sometimes get different kinds of side effects and you certainly have problems in older patients with forgetfulness, with compliance and with muddle. Comorbidity is of course a big deal in geriatrics and one really can’t ignore the other systems in the body which appear to be unaffected by the cancer but can be contributing to the quality of life of the patient.

That’s it for May and June looks as if it’s going to be quite exciting with ASCO etc.