Pfizer Grant to be a Game Changer for Lung Cancer Patients
Monday, March 18, 2013
A lung cancer diagnosis is often considered a death sentence because of its usually poor prognosis and the high visibility of ABC anchorman Peter Jennings’s death from the disease. Symptoms usually present during the later stages of lung cancer. Approximately 85 percent of all lung cancers are non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
“The program ultimately seeks to reduce a knowledge gap so there is a consistency in the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer.”
—A. Valeria Arrossi, MD, FASCP
EMPOWER Steering Committee Member
The good news, according to Patrick Ma, MD, medical oncologist at the Cleveland Clinic Taussic Cancer Institute, is that new targeted therapies have been developed over the past several years that are allowing patients with specific genotype-defined lung cancers to live longer without the cancer progressing.
“This new genomic era of personalized lung cancer therapy is moving very fast,” says Dr. Ma, who has seen numerous NSCLC patients respond favorably to these new therapies. “Some of the newer science with molecular genetics and genomics sequencing data can be hard for many to keep up with.”
To address the knowledge gaps, a new initiative—Engaging Multidisciplinary Teams to Improve Patient Outcomes with NSCLC Using Educational Resources (EMPOWER)—is being developed by the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), in collaboration with ASCP, the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Neb., and the France Foundation, which is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education as a provider of education for physicians.
Through an education grant from the Pfizer Foundation, EMPOWER will be designed to train interdisciplinary specialists how to diagnose patients with NSCLC at an earlier stage using new models of targeted therapies and personalized care. It also will seek to improve the coordinated care among the interdisciplinary specialists, including pulmonologists, pathologists, medical oncologists, thoracic surgeons, primary care clinicians, quality improvement management specialists, and continuing medical education (CME) departments.
“The program ultimately seeks to reduce a knowledge gap so there is a consistency in the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer,” says A. Valeria Arrossi, MD, FASCP, anatomic pathologist at the Cleveland Clinic and a Member of the EMPOWER Steering Committee.
To achieve this goal, the EMPOWER Project will:
Identify barriers in community-based systems for collecting proper tissue samples and performing assays for biomarkers;
Conduct team-based train-the-trainer programs using evidence-based education and assessment tools that serve as change agents for community–based systems and larger networks; and
Provide operational and educational support to multidisciplinary teams working collaboratively in evaluating and managing patients with NSCLC within these systems.
EMPOWER will include an assessment survey to be distributed to ACCP and ASCP members to determine the current state of interdisciplinary NSCLC medical practice. Train-the-trainer workshops will be held at five academic medical centers across the nation, including the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Each of the five medical centers will then conduct training programs with regional cancer centers in their area.
“The overall plan of EMPOWER is to try to get [the medical team] to use this new information and come up with better use of the diagnostic terms that we use,” says C. Bruce Alexander, MD, FASCP, ASCP Immediate Past President and a member of ACCP since 1985.