Marianne Davies on Determining Patient Eligibility for Immunotherapy

MARIANNE DAVIES, RN, MSN, ACNP, AOCN | April 25, 2015
Marianne Davies, RN, MSN, ACNP, AOCN, Smilow Cancer Hospital, Yale School of Nursing, discusses how to determine which patients are eligible for immunotherapy.

Davies explains that immunotherapy targets the patients’ immune system to prime it to fight the cancer instead of attacking the tumor itself. However, the newly primed T cells can also attack healthy cells.

When screening patients for these therapies, it’s important to see if they already have an over-reactive immune system, Davies says. An immunotherapy in these patients can lead to severe adverse events or even death.

Davies says it is also unknown how immunotherapies affect patients who are on steroids. Patients that have a high tumor burden are also not ideal candidates for immunotherapy. These patients need a more rapid response, Davies says.

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