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Research News Release

Research Institute joins long-term outcome study of patients with both cancer and COVID-19

Longitudinal study collects blood samples, health information and medical images with goal of guiding future treatment of patients with COVID-19 and cancer and supporting further research

July 14, 2020

Advocate Aurora Research Institute has joined a National Cancer Institute (NCI)–sponsored natural history study learning how COVID-19 affects the outcomes of patients undergoing cancer treatment and how having cancer affects COVID-19.

Through the study, “NCI COVID-19 in cancer patients study (NCCAPS): A longitudinal natural history study,” researchers will collect blood samples, health information and medical images from participants who are being treated for cancer and have a positive COVID-19 test.

“The long-term outcomes of patients with both cancer and COVID-19 are unknown, so the results of this study could steer cancer treatment for patients who acquire the virus,” said hematologist and oncologist Michael Thompson, MD, PhD. Dr. Thompson serves as the Research Institute’s principal investigator for the study and co-principal investigator for Advocate Aurora Health’s National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP), which supports national cancer clinical trials at its 30 community cancer clinics throughout Illinois and Wisconsin.

The study will rely on NCI’s Experimental Therapeutics Clinical Trials Network and National Clinical Trials Network, as well as NCORP sites, to enroll participants.

“Study researchers aim to track cancer treatment changes made due to COVID-19; evaluate the relationship between COVID-19 and different cancer outcomes within specific cancer types; assess COVID-19 antibody development, cytokine abnormalities and genetic variations associated with severe COVID-19; and create a bank of clinical data, specimens and radiological images for future research studies,” Dr. Thompson said.

To accomplish this, researchers plan to collect:

  • Data on pre-existing comorbidities, cancer type and treatment, demographics, the course and severity of participants’ COVID-19 infections, and short- and long-term outcomes;
  • Imaging scans from participants’ most recent pre-COVID-19 cancer imaging studies, imaging studies done as clinically indicated for cancer and imaging studies done as clinical indicated for COVID-19; and
  • Research specimens for the future study of related biomarkers.

“Although researchers are making relevant and potentially life-saving discoveries related to COVID-19 every day, there is still so much the medical community must learn, including how the virus interacts with other diseases, such as cancer,” said Amy Beres, PhD, director of oncology research for the Research Institute. “This study is an effort to begin collecting any information that may help scientists combat the effects of this virus as it continues to spread.”

Researchers will recruit patients who already have a previous or current cancer diagnosis and a documented positive COVID-19 test within 14 days prior to enrollment.

NCCAPS is designed to complement ongoing treatment and registry studies, including the COVID-19 and Cancer Consortium (CCC19) study. NCCAPS is unique in that it is collecting longitudinal data, biospecimens and images to better understand patient outcomes over time.

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About Aurora Health Care

Aurora Health Care is a not-for-profit Wisconsin-area health care provider and a national leader in efforts to improve health care quality. Aurora offers services at sites in more than 30 counties throughout eastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Aurora is Wisconsin's most comprehensive health care provider and the state's largest private employer. Aurora serves more than 1.2 million patients every year via a comprehensive network of facilities, services and providers, including 15 hospitals, more than 150 clinics, more than 70 pharmacies and more than 33,000 team members. As evidenced by more than 300 active clinical trials, Aurora is dedicated to delivering innovations to provide the best possible care today, and to define the best care for tomorrow. Get helpful health and wellness information through the Aurora blog, our Facebook page, as well as our Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest accounts. Aurora is part of Advocate Aurora Health, one of the 10 largest not-for-profit, integrated health systems in the United States. We help people live well.

About Aurora Research Institute

Aurora Research Institute is a not-for-profit, limited liability company of Aurora Health Care. Aurora has emerged as a national destination for patient-centered bench, translational and clinical research, and Aurora Research Institute unifies the innovative research efforts throughout the health system. Aurora researchers focus on rapidly translating new discoveries from the scientist’s bench to the patient’s bedside and into the community we serve to improve options and outcomes that change not only the lives of individuals, but transform the health of populations.

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