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April 15, 2021 31 min
This week at least 124 million people or 37% of the population of the United States have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. And, according to the latest available data, nearly 75 million Americans have been fully vaccinated. However, about 5,800 of 75 million fully vaccinated Americans were, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 and tested positive for the virus, in what's known as a "breakthrough infection”. And, according to the CDC, 400 of these 5,800 patients. or 7%, required hospitalization. Does that mean that the development of the vaccines and the subsequent regulatory approval was rushed?

Paul Schmidt asked Paul A. Offit, MD, the Director of the Vaccine Education Center and an attending physician in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Schmidt and Offit talk about vaccines and the decades-long research and development history which resulted in the vaccines that are now available to help us fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Also in this edition of Phytscican's Weekly:
• In fact, Peter Hofland, Ph.D., asked Antoni Ribas*, MD, Ph.D., professor of medicine, surgery, and molecular and medical pharmacology at the University of California in Los Angeles and the 2020 – 2021 president of the American Association for Cancer Research or AACR and Emily Blauel, MD, an attending physician at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia about results from clinical studies presented during the virtual annual meeting of the AACR. They first talk about the results of a phase III clinical trial with a bispecific fusion protein in the treatment of metastatic uveal melanoma. The study was conducted by Jessica Hassel, MD, associate professor of Dermato-Oncology at the University Hospital Heidelberg in Heidelberg, Germany. [1] The second study is a study in Neuroblastoma, pediatric cancer in which 1-2 percent of all cases have a positive family history of the disease. The study results were presented Blauel. [2]

• Rachel Giles talks with Minas T. Chrysopoulo, MD, FACS about the importance of empathy in the clinic. Why is empathy important in the delivery of care? How does it help healthcare providers connect with patients? Is there a correlation between the patient-provider relationship and positive treatment outcomes?

*Antoni Ribas, MD., Ph.D., professor of medicine, surgery, and molecular and medical pharmacology at the University of California in Los Angeles and the director of the Tumor Immunology Program at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and is director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at UCLA.

[1] Hassel JC Phase 3 randomized trial comparing tebentafusp with investigator’s choice in first-line metastatic uveal melanoma | Plenary session presentation (CT002), Presented at: AACR Annual Meeting 2021; April 9-14; Virtual. Abstract: #5342
[2] Blauel E, Vaksman Z, Lee A, et al. Heritability of cancer predisposition gene mutations in 556 neuroblastoma patients with paired parental DNA whole-genome sequences. Presented at: AACR Annual Meeting 2021; April 9-14; Virtual. Abstract : #3030.
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