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Three Highlights From Texas Oncology at the 2022 ASCO Annual Meeting

June 22, 2022

The annual American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) conference is one of the premier events for presenting the latest discoveries in cancer research. Medical professionals from around the world came together to explore the future of cancer care, through the theme: Advancing Equitable Cancer Care Through Innovation.

Since cancer research is a major priority for Texas Oncology, our physicians from across the state attend ASCO to present findings from groundbreaking research, advances in innovative cancer-fighting therapies, and the diverse list of clinical trials across Texas. At this year’s conference, 11 Texas Oncology physicians presented on 38 studies that highlight the practice’s newest research and findings paving the way for breakthroughs in cancer treatment.

Here are three highlights from Texas Oncology at ASCO 2022.

1) Using digital health solutions to improve the quality of patient care

According to the National Cancer Institute, certain populations are more likely to experience cancer-related disparities based on race, ethnicity, gender, geographic location, income, or overall access to quality healthcare. To address these disparities, physicians are evaluating how expanding access to digital health solutions (DHS) across all sociodemographic groups can provide patients with a greater standard of care.

Debra Patt, M.D., Ph.D., MBA, medical oncologist, breast cancer specialist, and Texas Oncology executive vice president for public policy, payer relations, and strategic initiatives, alongside researchers at Navigating Cancer, evaluated the implementation of DHS – combining telemedicine (virtual patient visits), digital ‘health tracker’ monitoring, and a dynamic online portal to keep in touch with patients – to improve its use among physicians and reduce patient disparities to accessible healthcare. The study examined data on how greater use DHS could help reduce disparities and enable communities to mitigate access-related challenges and barriers. The team demonstrated that digital health solutions can be used to bring reliable access to care for all cancer patients and can be highly utilized across a diverse set of sociodemographic populations. Texas Oncology continues to invest in innovative solutions to improve care delivery.

2) Increasing participation in clinical trials for cancer patients

Enhancing patient participation in cancer clinical trials was a key focus at ASCO. Researchers across The US Oncology Network, including Texas Oncology’s Robert L. Coleman, M.D., FACOG, FACS, gynecology oncologist and chief scientific officer for The US Oncology Network, studied the efficacy of engaging clinical pharmacists to provide remote clinical services and support clinical trial enrollment for non-small cell lung cancer patients.

Over six months, the pharmacists identified and screened potential participants and supported clinical trial enrollment into Protocol 2 of The Molecularly Informed Lung Cancer Treatment (MYLUNG) Consortium. They also provided on-site research teams with concise, real-time patient data for physicians to use when facilitating clinical trial enrollments. As a result, clinical trial enrollment increased twofold month-over-month.

3) Making the transition from academia to community oncology

With many new medical professionals joining the field each year, ASCO presented a panel of speakers discussing the transition from academic medicine to other career paths. The panelists shared why some professionals choose to transition, the similarities and differences between the various fields, and tips to help young professionals evaluate potential career opportunities. Alyssa Rieber, M.D., hematologist and medical oncologist at Texas Oncology–Fredericksburg, spoke on the panel, sharing her journey from academia to a small city oncology practice and how working at Texas Oncology has allowed her to serve her community, as well as bring clinical trial accessibility and leading-edge therapies to rural Texans.

For upcoming webinars visit www.TexasOncologyFoundation.org.