COVID-19 Experts Alert

April 6, 2020
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Experts Alert for COVID-19 and Cancer/Diabetes

City of Hope experts available to comment on COVID-19 pandemic, older adults and cancer/diabetes patients
City of Hope experts are available to comment on COVID-19:
COVID-19 and older adults
William Dale, M.D., Ph.D., City of Hope geriatrician and health policy expert, can comment on:
  • Best practices during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for vulnerable populations such as older adults and those with psychosocial or mental health concerns, as well as why these populations are at increased risk for developing complications from COVID-19. Dale was quoted in a news story about whether everyone over 60 has to take the same coronavirus precautions. 
  • How social distancing may impact mental health and strategies for maintaining an emotional connection.
  • Considerations for making vital care decisions and establishing goals for vulnerable patients during this time of uncertainty, anxiety and scarcity.
Dale is the Arthur M. Coppola Family Chair in Supportive Care Medicine and director of the Center for Cancer and Aging at City of Hope.
COVID-19, cancer patients and cytokine release syndrome
Joseph Alvarnas, M.D., City of Hope hematologist-oncologist, can comment on:
  • Which cancer patients are at an increased risk for developing serious complications from COVID-19, including bone marrow/stem cell transplants (BMT) and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy patients.
  • What high-risk cancer patients can do to protect themselves against the virus. 
  • A study in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, which showed that COVID-19 patients with severe disease experience decreased T cells, immune cells that can fight infections, and cytokine release storm, causing cytokines (small proteins that are part of the immune system) to damage a person’s lungs. Cytokine release syndrome (CRS), often at a low or medium grade, may also occur in patients who receive CAR T therapy, and Alvarnas can comment on why CRS occurs and what can be done to treat it.
Alvarnas, City of Hope clinical professor in the Department of Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation and vice president for government affairs, is frequently interviewed by media about CAR T cell therapy, particularly health policy.
COVID-19 and diabetes patients
Fouad R. Kandeel, M.D., Ph.D., City of Hope diabetes expert, can discuss :
  • Why type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients are at an increased risk for developing serious complications from COVID-19.
  • Advice on preventive measures diabetes patients can take against acquiring the virus.
Kandeel is a City of Hope professor and chair of the Department of Diabetes, Endocrinology & Metabolism and the Arthur D. Riggs Distinguished Chair in Diabetes & Metabolism Research.
About City of Hope
City of Hope is an independent biomedical research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. Founded in 1913, City of Hope is a leader in bone marrow transplantation and immunotherapy such as CAR T cell therapy. City of Hope’s translational research and personalized treatment protocols advance care throughout the world. Human synthetic insulin and numerous breakthrough cancer drugs are based on technology developed at the institution. A National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, City of Hope is the highest ranked cancer hospital in the West, according to U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals: Specialty Ranking. Its main campus is located near Los Angeles, with additional locations throughout Southern California. For more information about City of Hope, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.