LUNGevity spoke with Stephen Liu, MD, who answered questions from the lung cancer community about COVID-19 and clinical trials from his perspective as a medical oncologist. It is important to note that the conversation took place on July 3, as issues around the COVID-19 pandemic continue to evolve.
Dr. Liu is an associate professor of medicine at Georgetown University, where he is director of the Thoracic Oncology Program and heads the Developmental Therapeutics Program. His focus is on the treatment of lung cancer and drug development, and he helps lead many of the clinical trials at Georgetown.
Below are the questions discussed in the accompanying video:
- Are you still offering clinical trials as options for your patients right now?
- What factors do you take into account as an oncologist when you're offering clinical trials to your patients in this COVID era?
- What happens if a patient who is on a clinical trial gets diagnosed with COVID-19 while they are still on the trial?
- The next question is related to how your clinic is accommodating patients who are considering clinical trials as part of their treatment option. Do you have special practices in place? For example, do you have social distancing going on? Do people wear masks? Is there plexiglass?
- What new practices has your institution put in place to ensure that exposure to the COVID-19 virus is minimized for patients when they are considering clinical trials?
- What about local clinic infusions so that patients don't have to travel to the main trial site? Is that something that you are considering?
- Is its okay for caregivers to go with patients to the trial site and wait there? Is this something that your practice is allowing right now, especially for patients who have to go through four-hour long infusions? May caregivers wait, either in the infusion area or in the waiting areas?
- Because of the pandemic, does your clinic have the same process, or do they have new protocols for handling adverse event questions after hours?