Oncologists say the high-stakes work of treating cancer has become even more precarious during the pandemic. Over the course of 2020, cancer specialists have struggled to understand how to protect their patients, whose immune systems are often compromised by therapies.
“We need to keep treating, even in the face of this,” says Trisha Wise-Draper, MD, PhD, associate professor at the University of Cincinnati, UC Health oncologist and member of the UC Cancer Center. “Cancer never stops.”
In July, Layne Weatherford, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow who works with Wise-Draper, presented preliminary findings suggesting immunotherapy (which activates the immune system against cancer) doesn’t worsen complications for people with cancer infected with COVID-19.
“Our advice keeps changing. I think that’s been the hardest part for patients,” says Wise-Draper. “They’re watching science unfold in front of their eyes.”
Featured photo of cancer cells courtesy of the National Cancer Institute.