While our health-care system has been overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the crisis has also led to an acceleration of innovations, opening new avenues of care for patients and clinicians in oncology. From expanded access to specialists, to remote monitoring, to better documentation of test results, telemedicine has emerged as an efficient method for providing patient care and advancing health care in these uncertain times.

At the same time, new breakthroughs in understanding the genetic and cellular roots of cancer have also led to an exciting new chapter in precision medicine, a type of treatment that doctors and government officials want to make more widely available to patients.

Washington Post Live will host two live events examining the latest developments in oncology with key policymakers, top-line doctors, and high-profile cancer advocates. We will also look at how telehealth is ushering in a new era of cancer care in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis, including how doctors are trying to broaden access to care, and hear inspiring stories from survivors and caregivers. Part one will take place Thursday, Nov. 12 at 10:00 a.m. ET. Sign up for a live stream reminder for part two, taking place on Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 10:00 a.m. ET, here.

Highlights

Carl June, MD, said Pfizer's announcement that it's covid-19 vaccine is 90 percent efficacious "is stunning," but he added we don't yet know the vaccine's durability. “The top line results of 90 percent efficacy in a randomized trial are stunning, I have to say. You know, the standard flu vaccine that we get…has only, if you’re above 65, which I am, it only has a 50 percent, at best, efficacy rate, and that's a flu vaccine. So, this vaccine, the covid vaccine, appears to be very highly efficacious, and from what we’ve seen…it’s very safe. It looks to be highly promising.” (Washington Post Live)
Carl June, MD, said finding a covid-19 drug that could keep people from reaching the point of hospitalization would "relieve a big burden on the medical system." “One of the main issues with covid…is the number of people who actually require hospitalization…if we could give a medication to people as an outpatient that could keep them from ever getting hospitalized, that could relieve a big burden on the medical system. One approach is to prevent the inflammation that causes secondary damage in the lung. It’s counterintuitive, but tuning down the immune system appears in several models to decrease the need for hospitalization and death.” (Washington Post Live)
When Nusayba Ali needed a liver transplant, more than 500 people applied. Her father, Wajahat Ali, said it was the first time supply outmatched demand, and talked about the importance of living donors. "They have invested in trying to create a center in the name of Nusayba, a center for living donors… they realized if you give the resources…people step up." (Washington Post Live)

Guests

Wajahat Ali

Wajahat Ali is a journalist, writer, lawyer, an award-winning playwright, a TV host, and a consultant for the U.S. State Department. As Creative Director of Affinis Labs, he works to create social entrepreneurship initiatives that have a positive impact for marginalized communities, and to empower social entrepreneurs, young leaders, creatives, and communities to come up with innovative solutions to tackle world problems. Beginning in early 2017, Affinis Labs will launch a global startup incubator network, aimed at identifying and fostering “emerging entrepreneurial talent from around the world that understands what makes the global Islamic economy special.”

Carl H. June, MD

Carl H. June maintains a research laboratory that studies various mechanisms of lymphocyte activation that relate to immune tolerance and adoptive immunotherapy for cancer and chronic infection. In 2011, his research team published findings detailing a new therapy in which patients with refractory and relapsed chronic lymphocytic leukemia were treated with genetically engineered versions of their own T cells. The June laboratory has been highly productive with >500 publications, and a google scholar h-index of 155 with >93,000 citations.

June has published more than 500 manuscripts and is the recipient of numerous prizes and honors, including election to the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2014, and the American Philosophical Society. He has been awarded the Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize (shared w J. Allison), the Novartis Prize in Immunology (shared w Z. Eshhar and S. Rosenberg), the Karl Landsteiner Memorial award, the Karnofsky Prize from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the Albany Medical Prize and a lifetime achievement award from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Sarah Kureshi, MD

Dr. Sarah Kureshi is a graduate of the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Harvard School of Public Health. Her professional interests include preventive medicine, health disparities, health and human rights, gender based violence, and refugee/immigrant health. She speaks Urdu and Hindi.

Content from AstraZeneca:

Redefining Cancer – Improving Care Through Innovation

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted cancer care in countless ways and brought to light challenges within the health-care system that we must address across the industry. In this segment, we’ll look at how we can work to identify cancer earlier through improving screening and testing capabilities, leveraging digital platforms and prioritizing personalized medicine. We’ll hear from leaders who are working on innovative approaches to ensure quality of care for all patients – particularly in the era of coronavirus.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted cancer care in countless ways and brought to light challenges within the health-care system that we must address across the industry. In this segment, we’ll look at how we can work to identify cancer earlier through improving screening and testing capabilities, leveraging digital platforms and prioritizing personalized medicine. We’ll hear from leaders who are working on innovative approaches to ensure quality of care for all patients – particularly in the era of coronavirus. (Washington Post Live)

Lincoln D. Nadauld, MD, PhD, VP and Chief of Precision Health and Academics, Intermountain Healthcare

Lincoln Nadauld founded the Intermountain Precision Genomics program with a vision of finding solutions to improve health and disease through genomics and precision medicine without increasing costs. With his vision in mind, he oversees the clinical implementation of precision genomics across Intermountain’s 24 hospitals and 160 physician clinics. In addition, he facilitates genomic research to better understand the human genome. Nadauld conceived and is leading the recently announced Heredigene, Population Study — a collaborative effort with deCODE Genetics in Iceland to collect and perform whole-genome sequencing on 500,000 participants in the Intermountain system. Nadauld’s work in founding Intermountain Precision Genomics was recognized with the Utah Governor’s 32nd Annual Science Medal for Industry, which is the highest civilian award to be bestowed by the state of Utah and honors significant contributions to science and technology. He is married with five children and enjoys attending their many activities and events, as well as water sports, fishing and other athletic pursuits.

Interviewed by Camille Hertzka, VP, Head of Oncology U.S. Medical at AstraZeneca

As the Medical Head of US Oncology, Camille Hertzka leads the teams that are responsible for the development and delivery of the medical strategy across each of the oncology medicines and across all tumor types, which also includes the filed medical team (MSLs).

Camille is a Scientist by training. She has 15 years of industry experience within Oncology in both Medical Affairs and R&D. She has held various roles within AZ including the Head of the oncology medical team in Europe as well as the Head of the international region. She has also been responsible for the life cycle management and overall strategy of Olaparib in GYN cancers before joining the US team.

Prior to AZ, Camille worked at BMS, mainly leading medical affairs activities in melanoma and GU cancers for the European region. She also worked at Roche where she mainly focused on lung cancer, brain tumors and GU cancers in France.