May 8, 2020 — During the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) is fully operating and continues to lead, conduct and support cancer research across the nation to advance scientific knowledge and help all people live longer, healthier lives, according to an editorial by Janet Eary, M.D., and Lalitha Shankar, M.D., Ph.D., published today in the journal Radiology: Imaging Cancer.
The editorial outlines the NCI’s research efforts to find effective vaccine and therapy options for COVID-19 and explains how the NCI Cancer Imaging Program is using The Cancer Imaging Archive resource to de-identify and publicly host an initial COVID-19 chest CT and X-ray reference image dataset for health care providers.
The authors also discuss steps taken to address access to care and other challenges facing cancer patients during the pandemic. Because cancer patients are at a uniquely high risk for poor outcome from coronavirus infection, NCI recently announced the development of a clinical trial to study the natural history of COVID-19 in affected cancer patients. The data gleaned from the trial will be useful for research aimed at understanding the pathobiology of the coronavirus in this vulnerable patient population.
The authors stress that communication and interpersonal interaction are vital during this public health crisis and emphasize the importance of adapting to new ways to share knowledge and information.
“For the future, we can continue to realize the value of these interactions and plan the use of our finite resources accordingly knowing that we can accomplish much with technology. In doing so, we will be able to heighten our focus on harnessing AI approaches and other data-based interventions to continue to make advances in promoting health across all our constituencies,” they wrote.
For more information: COVID-19 Update from the NCI Cancer Imaging Program