Message from the Interventional Oncology Research Labs during COVID19 – We Will Prevail

COVID19 poses a real threat to the well-being of our patients and we, as physician-scientists, are taking this threat seriously. In light of the available data, we act diligently to protect those most vulnerable in this situation: our cancer patients. The necessary measures to mitigate the spread of this disease are testing our ability to deliver optimal care for those in urgent need. At the same time, these unusual times are also testing our ability to preserve and advance our mission to improve interventional oncology practice through translational research. Although many of us have faced the unpleasant reality of having our laboratories impacted by regulatory authority decisions which defer Non-COVID19 research, cancer cannot wait and neither can our research. Our research groups have taken the necessary steps to secure our infrastructure, protect our research nurses, technicians, staff and trainees while allowing for critical research projects to continue. Patients enrolled in clinical trials continue to receive the best possible care both in person and via telemedicine options. Our laboratories continue to hold weekly lab meetings. We exchange project ideas, collect and analyze data, as well as continue to write, submit and review manuscripts to advance the scientific process. Within the forums and committees of our society, we work on research education, guidelines and white papers. We continue to advocate for our profession as the fourth pillar of cancer care with our partners from medical, surgical and radiation oncology. We also submit new applications and renew existing grants to secure funding for our research operations in the future. We all feel incredibly grateful for the unwavering support of our industry sponsors who stand by us every step of the way. While the current limitations reduce our experimental research, we take our responsibility to maintain the highest standards of animal welfare during this time seriously. In addition, we recognize these circumstances as an opportunity for the critical evaluation of current research projects. Moreover, we continue to be research mentors and are eager to answer challenging questions from our trainees: “Will I be able to graduate from my PhD program?”, “Will my post-doctoral appointment be renewed?”, “I was unable to present my abstract and connect with a program director because of a cancelled annual meeting – will my application for IR training be competitive enough?”. The answers are not always straight forward, but we understand the importance of remaining steadfast through mutual reassurance and support in order to improve interventional oncology. Ultimately, we are certain that we will come out stronger if we stick together as a research community and are jointly and deeply committed to this goal. We will prevail.


From the Interventional Oncology Research Labs (in alphabetical order):

Muneeb Ahmed MD, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Rony Avritscher MD, MD Anderson Cancer Center

Julius Chapiro MD PHD, Yale University School of Medicine

Joseph Erinjeri MD PHD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Terence Gade MD PHD, PIGI lab, University of Pennsylvania

Nahum Goldberg MD, Hadassah Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel

Stephen Hunt MD PHD, PIGI lab, University of Pennsylvania

Martijn Meijerink MD PHD, Amsterdam University Medical Center, The Netherlands

Isabel Newton MD PHD, University of California San Diego

Sarah White MD, MS Medical College of Wisconsin


1 Comment
1 Like

Thank you

April 28, 2020 11:53 PM by Jael Stebbins

Many thanks for prevailing in your mission, keeping a clear sight of this imperative work. Your contributions are not forgotten! Love and light.

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