From the problems that Covid-19 has caused in assisting cancer patients, forcing them to think of new solutions, to better management of the disease possible thanks to the new organizational methods imposed by the pandemic. Thus, ‘inspired’ by the ongoing health emergency, the ‘Caring My Life’ and ‘Patients Matter’ projects promoted by Novartis and aimed respectively at patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and polycythemia vera (Pv), two cancers of the blood that require frequent monitoring, with blood sampling, to check the progress of the disease and the effectiveness of the therapies. Patients will be able to monitor the disease at home, with the possibility of modulating the periodicity of the checks, if necessary. At the moment the ‘Caring My Life’ project for patients with Lmc – explains a note – is active at the Sant’Eugenio hospital in Rome, the hospital-university consortium Policlinico di Bari and the Federico II Polyclinic in Naples, while for patients with PV the ‘Patients Matter’ project is active at the Vito Fazi hospital in Lecce, the A. Gemelli Irccs university hospital in Rome and the Careggi hospital in Florence. Both initiatives envisage that, on the basis of the indications provided by the reference hematologist, the blood sampling is carried out at home by a nurse who then delivers the sample to the reference laboratory. “Less hospital access, fewer logistical problems for patients and family members, and simplified management of disease monitoring” are the advantages highlighted by the promoters. “We are happy to be able to give life to these patient support projects in the area, thanks to the collaboration with numerous hospitals throughout Italy – declares Luigi Boano, General Manager of Novartis Oncology Italy – Our historical commitment in hematology has its roots in the research and development of innovative therapeutic solutions, but goes beyond therapies, to focus on the needs of patients in multiple aspects of the daily management of the disease “. The ‘Caring My Life’ program is dedicated to patients with CML who are not undergoing any therapy, but who must have frequent blood tests. These patients must in fact monitor the disease at close intervals, even monthly – the experts recall – with a significant impact on everyday life, to which are added the complications related to the pandemic situation. The project relieves patients from the burden of monitoring in terms of time, organization and logistics. “The treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia has been revolutionized by the arrival of Tki therapies, which have made it possible to achieve important results in terms of disease control, arriving to make remission free from treatment possible in many cases, with a significant impact on the quality of life of patients who can live long-term without having to undergo any therapy – underlines Fabrizio Pane, full professor of Hematology at the Federico II University of Naples and AF director of Hematology at the same university hospital – After the suspension of treatment, patients have to undergo frequent checks, with the need for numerous blood samples which during the health emergency led to management difficulties. home collection service therefore goes in the direction and a simplification of disease monitoring which, starting from the pandemic emergency, may guide the reorganization of services and management and organizational models in the coming months “. A theme, that of disease monitoring – continue the specialists – which also unites patients with polycythemia vera, a chronic myeloproliferative neoplasm characterized by an excessive production of red blood cells, which leads to an increase in blood viscosity and consequently in the hematocrit, a value that requires constant monitoring and attention through frequent blood tests. Hence the ‘Patients Matter’ project dedicated precisely to patients with Pv. “In recent years, the objectives of the treatment of polycythemia vera have focused on reducing the risk and mortality from cardiovascular causes – remarks Valerio De Stefano, full professor of Hematology and director of the Hematology Service and Day Hospital complex operating unit of the Agostino Gemelli Irccs University Polyclinic Foundation – This was possible thanks to the implementation of studies that generated guidelines aimed at an appropriate and stringent use of antiplatelet and cytoreductive drugs, in addition to bloodletting practice. It is now established that a hematocrit value equal to or less than 0.45 is associated with a significant reduction in vascular events. Frequent blood sampling is therefore necessary to verify the efficacy of the treatment and check the hematocrit values , with the need for patients to often go to hospital, despite the re the difficulties associated with the pandemic and a significant logistical burden. The home blood count program to which we have joined responds precisely to the need to lighten this burden for patients, favoring home monitoring of the hematocrit, in constant connection with the reference hematologist “.
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