To help better understand the impact and outcomes of COVID-19 in people undergoing cancer treatment, UCLA Health and the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center are participating in a National Cancer Institute (NCI) study with cancer centers across the country. UCLA Health's diverse patient community will be able to provide information about COVID-19's impact on cancer patients from a variety of different backgrounds, ethnicities and races.
The NCI COVID-19 in Cancer Patients Study (NCCaPS) will evaluate blood samples, medical information and medical images from patients who are infected with COVID-19 and undergoing treatment for cancer or have recently completed their treatment. This will help scientists track the course of COVID-19 disease in cancer patients and identify clinical and molecular factors to determine which patients may be more susceptible to complications and assess long-term effects of the coronavirus that may specifically affect this group of patients, including the impact on quality of life.
Some people with cancer, whose immune systems have been weakened by their cancer treatments, can be at a greater risk for sustaining a life-threatening complication from an infection like COVID-19. This study will allow researchers to learn more about COVID-19's clinical course in patients with a variety of cancers and will continue to follow them for two years as part of their COVID-19 or cancer care.
"This study will give us the ability to answer important questions about COVID-19 and the impact it has had on the course of patients with cancer," said UCLA co-principal investigator Beth Karlan, MD, vice chair of women's health research in the obstetrics and gynecology department in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and director of cancer population genetics at the UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center. "For example, what changes were there in cancer treatments as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic? Did these treatment modifications impact the cancer outcome? Are there certain treatments that make patients more susceptible to getting COVID-19? Were cancer patients' family members more likely to get COVID19 themselves? These are just a few important questions whose answers will help us better treat patients in the future."
The study, which is co-led by Gottfried Konecny, MD, professor of medicine at the Geffen School of Medicine, is now open to adults who are getting tested for or have COVID-19 and are also undergoing cancer treatment.
The trial is among a wide array of studies at UCLA Health addressing the impact of COVID-19. As a leading academic health system that regularly treats patients with infectious diseases and other complex illnesses, UCLA is uniquely positioned to support the fight against COVID-19.