Legislative Action Center

Government Research Initiatives

Affordable Care Act Resources

ONS Comments on U.S. Pharmacopeial General Chapter <800> Hazardous Drugs
Read ONS’s full comment letter on the new proposed General Chapter <800> Hazardous Drugs – Handling in Healthcare Settings.

High-Quality Cancer Care Faces Challenges says New IOM Report
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a new report, Delivering High-Quality Cancer Care: Charting a New Course for a System in Crisis. The IOM convened a committee of experts to examine the quality of cancer care in the United States and formulate recommendations for improvement. This report presents the committee’s findings and recommendations. You can download the full report or read the report online for free.
View Patient Stories and the Opportunity to Change Cancer Care.

ONS was proud to serve as one of the sponsors for this report. Nurses on the panel include ONS members Betty Ferrell, RN, PhD, MA, FAAN, and Mary McCabe, RN, MA.

ONS Urges Congress to Resolve Issues
As the U.S. Congress continues to debate the details of the federal budget, ONS urges Congress to find a solution to the economic issues and put America back on track to leading the way in providing health care, research, education, and workforce safety.

Grants Available for Three-Day Nurse in Washington Internships

The 2015 Nurse in Washington Internship (NIWI) program will be held March 15 – 17, 2015 at The Westin Crystal City Hotel in Arlington, VA. NIWI enables nurses to learn how to influence health care through the legislative and regulatory processes. Participants learn from health policy experts and government officials, network with other nurses, and visit members of Congress.

ONS has a limited number of grants available for NIWI. Grants provide full registration for NIWI, expenses for travel, hotel and related travel expenses (e.g. meals, airport parking) per ONS Travel Policy. Application requirements are:

  • Current ONS membership (minimum of two years)
  • Current activity in the legislative arena
  • Past ONS activities
  • Description of how the internship will benefit the recipient’s professional role and role in ONS
  • Willingness to serve as a chapter or special interest group legislative liaison
  • Strong communication skills.

Candidates should submit a letter stating application for a NIWI grant, required accompanying information listed previously, and a curriculum vitae, plus three additional copies of the materials, to the ONS Health Policy Team, 125 Enterprise Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15275-1214 (866-257-4ONS; astone@ons.org). Applications are due November 1.

Latest News

Although skin cancer is annually brought to the public's attention during the summer, it is a year-round disease, and the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States.
The Surgeon General recently issued a Call to Action to prevent skin cancer, raising awareness about the 5 million Americans treated every year, at a cost of more than $8 billion. "While many other cancers, such as lung cancer, are decreasing, rates of melanoma -- the deadliest form of skin cancer -- are increasing," said Assistant Secretary for Health Howard K. Koh, M.D., M.P.H. "As a skin oncologist who worked in this field for many years, I have cared for both the young and old with skin cancers. Almost all of these cancers were caused by unnecessary ultraviolet radiation exposure, usually from excessive time in the sun or from the use of indoor tanning devices." The report calls on all sectors of American society to be proactive in preventing skin cancer. Read the Call to Action to learn how to prevent skin cancer at www.surgeongeneral.gov

A recent study may help shed light on how circulating tumor cells (CTCs) develop and ultimately metastasize.
Through new technology, a CTC-iChip has been engineered to remove blood cells from most cancer, helping to better understand possible therapies. The study was led by Drs Shyamala Maheswaran and Daniel A. Haber of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NBIB)."This approach of culturing circulating cancer cells in the blood, analyzing them for new mutations that have developed during therapy, and testing the utility of drugs targeting those mutations could become the essence of individually adjusted cancer therapy in the future," Haber says. However, Maheswaran added that, "we need to improve culture techniques before this is ready for clinical use, and we are working on doing that right now." Read more about the study at http://www.nih.gov/researchmatters/july2014/07282014cancer.htm

New Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) research finds that stomach cancer falls into four categories, not a single one, as previously understood.
With close to 723,000 deaths annually, gastric cancer is far more complex and this study will help scientists better understand the disease. "This most recent TCGA study again demonstrates the importance of its comprehensive design," said NHGRI Director Eric Green, M.D., Ph.D. "These results give us important new genomic insights into a cause of a deadly form of cancer." Read the entire NIH article.

Study identifies novel genomic changes in the most common type of lung cancer
In a jointly funded and managed National Cancer Institute and the National Human Genome Research Institute project, research into lung cancer found new mechanisms to treat pathways which could help to better understand the disease. “Combined with the earlier TCGA analysis of squamous lung cancers, we now have a comprehensive understanding of many of the genetic pathways that lead to cancers of the lung,” said NCI Director Harold Varmus, M.D. “Based on this knowledge, we can now seek better pathway inhibitors to improve patient outcomes. However, for the time being, stopping smoking or never starting remain the most reliable ways to reduce the number of deaths due to lung cancer.” Read more on this research.

Brain tumor invasion along blood vessels may lead to new cancer treatments
The brain is a complicated and complex organ. It fends offs foreign forces, protecting itself, and therefore makes introduction of medicines difficult. However, a recent NIH study found that once accomplished, predictive results that could help scientists diagnose and treat diseases—like brain cancer—are possible. “Evidence from our models suggests that early in the disease, invading tumor cells are not completely protected by the blood-brain barrier and may be more vulnerable to drugs delivered to the brain via the blood. If these findings hold true in humans, treatment with anti-invasive agents might be beneficial in newly diagnosed glioblastoma patients,” said Harold Sontheimer, PhD, lead researcher from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Find out more.

Study of third hand nicotine from e-cigarette exposure wins top NIH Addiction Science Award At the annual Intel Addiction Science Awards, the NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) presented this year’s winner for innovation on nicotine. The budding 18 year old scientist tested e-cigarettes in an attempt to determine nicotine levels in third hand smoke exposure. Her results from vaporized nicotine, and its impact on friends and family were incredible. Read the entire NIH press release.

Creative Minds: Targeting Cancer with Lasers and Nanoballoons
Technology is driving healthcare daily. New advances for treatments and cures are being developed at the NIH with federal investment in research and science. An extraordinary example is the work designed with the support of lasers. Shining tiny beams of light into nanosized spherical pods, known as liposomes, and then filling them with anti-cancer drugs, researchers have found that they can safely fight tumors with red lasers, triggering the balloons to open and deliver the drugs. Read more about these advances.

Unexpected protein partnership has implications for cancer treatment
A recent NIH study found that two unexpected proteins partner in response to cancer drugs, increasing inflammation that may alter tumor growth. The research was aimed at helping to better understand chemotherapy and the cooperative interaction between certain immune cells. Read more on this breakthrough visit.

Nurse Staffing, Education Affect Patient Safety
A new NIH National Institute for Nursing Research (NINR) study found that an abridged workload and emphasizing education in the hiring process would shift the hospital death rate. “This study emphasizes the role that nurses play in ensuring successful patient outcomes and underscores the need for a well-educated nursing workforce,” says NINR Director Dr. Patricia A. Grady. Read more on the research.

NIH study finds regular aspirin use may reduce ovarian cancer risk
The Journal of the National Cancer Institute published a study saying that women who take daily doses of aspirin may reduce their risk of ovarian cancer by 20 percent. While more research needs to be completed before the NIH will make recommendations, Britton Trabert, Ph.D., and Nicolas Wentzensen, M.D., Ph.D., of NCI’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, led the study, and added, “Our study suggests that aspirin regimens, proven to protect against heart attack, may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer as well. However intriguing our results are, they should not influence current clinical practice. Additional studies are needed to explore the delicate balance of risk-benefit for this potential chemopreventive agent, as well as studies to identify the mechanism by which aspirin may reduce ovarian cancer risk,” said Trabert. Read full NIH release on the study.

Adding chemotherapy following radiation treatment improves survival for adults with low-grade gliomas, a slow-growing type of brain tumor
An NIH clinical trial for adults with low-grade gliomas, a form of brain tumor, found that patients lived longer after receiving a chemotherapy regimen followed by radiation treatment. The Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG), a section at NCI, showed the results which will be presented later at a science conference. “The results of this study are practice-changing,” said co-lead investigator Jan Buckner, M.D., professor of oncology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. “Additionally, ongoing analysis of patient tumor samples should allow us to further identify the patients who will, and who will not, benefit from chemotherapy, taking yet another step toward individualized therapy.” Furthermore, Jeff Abrams, M.D., clinical director of NCI’s Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis said “these findings also are an example of how combining available treatments can produce a significant improvement in clinical outcome.” It is estimated that over 23,000 people will be diagnosed with primary brain tumors in the United States in 2014 and that 10 percent to 15 percent will have low-grade gliomas. Read more.

TCGA bladder cancer study reveals potential drug targets, similarities to several cancers
The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Research Network, in conjunction with the NIH’s NCI and National Human Genome Research Institute, released a study showing some bladder cancers are molecularly similar to some types of breast, head, and neck and lung cancers. “TCGA Research Network scientists continue to unravel the genomic intricacies of many common and often intractable cancers, and these findings are defining new research directions and accelerating the development of new cancer therapies,” said NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D. This study was published in January’s edition of Nature, highlighting the deadliest forms of bladder cancer, which effects about 72,000 news cases annually. “This project has dramatically improved our understanding of the molecular basis of bladder cancers and their relationship to other cancer types,” said lead author John Weinstein, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. “In the long run, the potential molecular targets identified may help us to personalize therapy based on the characteristics of each patient’s tumor.” “The real excitement about this project is that we now have a menu of treatment and research directions to pursue,” said Seth Lerner, M.D., professor and chair in urologic oncology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and one of the senior authors of the paper. Read more.