In this first issue of the Visionary in 2020, the ROI is pleased to share with you some of the exciting progress made over the past year by the investigators that you are supporting through your generous donations. In November 2019, findings from a study led by Nitin Ohri, MD, MS, of the Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, were featured as an issue highlight in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology • Biology • Physics. The article, “Daily step counts: A new prognostic factor in locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer?” shares results showing that among 50 patients with locally advanced, non-small cell lung cancer, step counts prior to starting treatment could help predict their outcomes. “Our study shows that people who are inactive for their age will have a significantly more difficult time with radiation therapy. They are more likely to end up in the hospital, experience treatment delays and disease recurrence, and are less likely to survive. This is valuable information worth considering when making treatment decisions,” says Dr. Ohri.
Just a few months before the publication of the Red Journal manuscript, Dr. Ohri presented “Daily step counts to predict hospitalizations during concurrent chemoradiotherapy for solid tumors” at the ASCO Quality Care Symposium. Using data combined from three trials including the one funded by the ROI, Dr. Ohri’s team demonstrated that patients undergoing chemoradiotherapy had a 36% reduction in the risk of hospitalization for every 1000 daily steps taken.
Dr. Ohri was one of the first radiation oncology researchers to start exploring the possibilities of using activity trackers to improve patient outcomes and received an ROI Innovative Projects in Radiation Oncology grant in 2016. Since then, Dr. Ohri has secured funding for several other studies that incorporate activity monitoring, including an NRG CCDR Pilot Grant as well as grants from the Empire Clinical Research Investigator Program (ECRIP) and Merck. “I consider step counts to be a new vital sign for cancer treatment,” says Dr. Ohri. “I think it should be routine to ask patients about how much they walk.” Additional results from Dr. Ohri’s study are expected later this year, so be sure to follow the ROI on Facebook and Twitter for updates on outcomes.
It was a productive year for ROI researcher Todd McNutt, PhD, of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. McNutt’s team published three manuscripts and gave nine presentations about their work using machine learning to understand how the spatial distribution of the radiation dose influences toxicities in patients with head and neck cancer and to use this data to improve toxicity prediction models. The manuscripts they published were:
Dr. McNutt’s team gave presentations at the 2019 AAPM Annual Meeting, the International Conference on the Use of Computers in Radiotherapy and the ASTRO Annual Meeting. All of this work is part of the larger enterprise, Oncospace, that Dr. McNutt helped found in 2007. This past year, a start-up business was spun-off and has already secured two SBIR grants from the NIH.
At the ASTRO Annual Meeting in Chicago, Karen Hoffman, MD, MHSc, MPH, shared some initial results from her ROI-funded study in a presentation titled, “Impact of Multidisciplinary Counseling on Awareness of Prostate Cancer Treatment Options
.” Her team is working on a manuscript that the ROI looks forward to highlighting in the future.
Fumiko Chino, MD, who was the recipient of an ROI grant to study financial toxicity among patients with head and neck cancer during her final year of residency at Duke University, recently translated that work into a new grant from the Chanel Endowment to Fund Survivorship Research. Now an Assistant Attending in Radiation Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Dr. Chino will conduct the study, “Running on Empty”: Financial Literacy, Financial Capacity and Enduring Financial Toxicity in Young Adult Cancer Survivors, with this additional funding.
The ROI research portfolio is continuing to grow and mature, and you can watch for announcements of new awards later this spring as well as new results throughout the year on Twitter and Facebook.