Researchers, led by Dr. Dana Zakalik, professor of medicine and oncology at the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine secured participation in a National Cancer Institute (NCI) COVID-19 clinical trial, a national study investigating the impact of COVID-19 on cancer patients. Now Beaumont Hospitals in Dearborn, Farmington Hills, Royal Oak, and Troy, Michigan are enrolling patients who are presently undergoing cancer treatments.
The sudden onset of COVID-19 pandemic conditions have had a detrimental impact on cancer care conditions. Cancer patients (and family) already face crisis’ involving the process associated with psychological, emotional, health and potentially economic implications of cancer treatments. Compounding the problem are data points that those with cancer face higher risk from severe illness associated with SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind COVID-19. The confluence of these adverse forces led to NCI’s launch of a nationwide study called NCI COVID-19 in Cancer Patients Study (NCCAPS). The plan upon study initiation was to enroll 2,000 patients at more than 1,000 sites across the country. The study is supported by the NCI Cancer Trials Support Unit, offering support for day-to-day operations of the study. The protocol summary and additional information can be viewed here.
Qualifying patients will be awaiting COVID-19 tests results or test positive for the novel coronavirus. Additionally, eligibility necessitates only those patients undergoing cancer treatments (e.g. chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, etc.) or follow-up care that requires them to visit the health care facility hence putting them at greater risk.
Once in the study, the research team will collect blood and track and monitor medical data (e.g. images, etc.) and follow for up to two years in the quest to better understand how COVID-19 affects cancer patients.
PI Point of View
Dr. Dana Zakalik was on record recently via the Detroit Free Press, “People with cancer are already facing the shock of a cancer diagnosis, the tribulations that accompany treatment, or the stress of survivorship.” Dr. Zakalik continued, “In addition, we’re learning people with cancer may be at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 because their cancer, or its treatment, has left them more vulnerable to complications. This national study will help scientists answer key questions about COVID-19’s impact on cancer patients, as well as cancer’s impact on the course of COVID-19. The findings have the potential to influence the treatment of cancer patients with COVID-19 in the future.
Lead Research/Investigator for Beaumont Health
This study is led by Dr. Dana Zakalik, MD, professor of medicine and oncology at the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, and director of the Nancy and James Grosfeld Cancer Genetics Center.
Beaumont Research Institute
Beaumont Research Institute (Beaumont) introduces robust research programs into the clinical care setting. For over 50 years they have conducted translational research, ranging from laboratory and preclinical investigation to clinical, nursing, quality/safety, population health informatics and learning health system initiatives. Beaumont is an academic health system affording the BRI a myriad of opportunities for dynamic, innovative and meaningful research. Many of BRI’s investigators come from the faculty at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine.
Call to Action: If you have a loved one diagnosed with cancer and currently in treatment, consider this study. They will receive extra medical attention and participate in a national effort to understand the impact of COVID-19 on cancer patients. Call the Cancer Clinical Trials Office at the Beaumont Research Institute at 248-551-7695.