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Today's Geriatric Medicine
E-Newsletter    October 2022
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Editor's E-Note

The FDA has approved Enhertu, an IV infusion for the treatment of unresectable or metastatic HER2-low breast cancer—the first approved targeted therapy for patients with this breast cancer subtype, which is a newly defined subset of HER2-negative breast cancer.

In addition to reading our e-newsletter, be sure to visit Today’s Geriatric Medicine’s website at www.TodaysGeriatricMedicine.com, where you’ll find news and information that’s relevant and reliable. We welcome your feedback at TGMeditor@gvpub.com. Follow Today’s Geriatric Medicine on Facebook and Twitter, too.

— Kate Jackson, editor
In This E-Newsletter
E-News Exclusive
Advancement in the Treatment of HER2-Low Breast Cancer

The FDA recently approved Enhertu (fam-trastuzumab-deruxtecan-nxki), an IV infusion for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic HER2-low breast cancer. This is the first approved therapy targeted to patients with the HER2-low breast cancer subtype, which is a newly defined subset of HER2-negative breast cancer.

It is estimated that 287,850 new cases of female breast cancer will be diagnosed in 2022 in the United States. Approximately 80% to 85% of those new cases were previously considered to be HER2-negative subtype (including hormone receptor positive and triple negative breast cancer), which means the tumors do not overexpress, or make too many copies of the HER2 protein. Of that proportion of breast cancer diagnoses, about 60% of patients previously classified as having HER2-negative subtype can now be considered as HER2-low. Prior to this approval, HER2-low patients received endocrine therapy or chemotherapy.

“Today’s approval highlights the FDA’s commitment to be at the forefront of scientific advances, making targeted cancer treatment options available for more patients,” says Richard Pazdur, MD, director of the FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence and acting director of the Office of Oncologic Diseases in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Having therapies that are specially tailored to each patient’s cancer subtype is a priority to ensure access to safe and innovative treatments.”

As part of the Administration’s Cancer Moonshot program, President Biden tapped federal agencies to develop ways to reduce the rate of cancer deaths and improve the lives of cancer patients and their families through advancements in cancer research and technology, and development of new programs. Enhertu’s approval further illustrates how the FDA’s efforts align with the Cancer Moonshot goals of targeting the right treatments to the right patients, speeding progress against the most deadly and rare cancers, and learning from the experience of all patients.



Other Geriatric News
More Accessible Hearing Aids
Starting in mid-October, a new FDA regulation will make hearing aids more cost effective and accessible. The new rule allows Americans with mild to moderate hearing loss to purchase a new class of hearing aids over the counter at pharmacies and other retail stores without need for a medical examination or a prescription.

Older Adults Reclaiming Rituals
Making meaning and increasing community are known to be important to physical and mental health, especially for older adults. Meaningful rituals and rites of passage are ways to accomplish both. The New York Times reports on the ways older adults are incorporating rituals typically enjoyed by younger people into their lives.

Skin Cancer Is Underrecognized in Black Patients
Black people, according to Kaiser Health News, have been overlooked by the makers of sunscreens and by health care providers who have neglected to be aware of the potential risks and adequately assess patients. Providers, too, have often failed to educate their Black patients about sun safety and recognition of symptoms of skin cancer. As a result, the condition often goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.

Swapping Out the Salt
A new study published in Heart has shown that ditching salt for salt substitutes can reduce by 13% the risk of premature death from cardiovascular disease and the risk of heart attacks and strokes by 11%. Because the substitutes contain more potassium and less sodium, they contribute to reduced blood pressure, which is responsible for the benefits to cardiovascular health, according to reporting in Newsweek.
Products & Services
Culturally Specific Mental Health Resources
MyOwnDoctor, an Illinois-based telehealth company, has launched the free Heart & Health app, which provides users with culturally specific mental health resources and services, beginning this month. It’s designed to address the mental health care epidemic in America, rooted in race-based traumatic stress. Its services include free weekly webinars on a range of topics from managing stress and anxiety to coping with the daily stress of racism, discrimination, sexism, and violence. Learn more »

Motion Tracking
Kemtai is a digital physical therapy and MSK platform that leverages computer vision and artificial intelligence technology to turn a user’s laptop, smartphone, or tablet into an advanced motion tracker with real-time corrective guidance, enabling more effective sessions and improving adherence to at-home physical therapy, musculoskeletal, and fitness programs. It’s announced the addition of range-of-motion assessment functionality to assess and track a user’s mobility in real time and over the course of treatment. Learn more »
Current Issue
Surgery for Meniscus Tears
Knee surgery such as arthroscopic partial meniscectomy is routinely used to repair torn meniscus cartilage, but evidence suggests the procedure is overused and potentially harmful.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
More research is needed to investigate the life-long implications of this chronic disease in the postmenopausal female, including the psychiatric comorbidities, which may increase as women age.

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