THOUSAND OAKS, Calif., Oct. 24, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) today announced the launch of At Home with Joan, a campaign led by breast cancer survivor and advocate Joan Lunden. This campaign aims to empower patients diagnosed with cancer to be active participants in their treatment plan in order to understand and navigate the risks associated with strong chemotherapy, including infection as manifested by febrile neutropenia, or a low blood cell count with fever.1
Motivated by her own cancer battle and passion for sharing valuable health information with the public, the iconic journalist traveled the country to get up close and personal with four breast cancer survivors also treated with strong chemotherapy. Together, they share their stories in order to inspire others to be an advocate and play an active role on their healthcare team. In the At Home with Joan campaign, Lunden reinforces the number one piece of advice she wished she knew before her diagnosis: that you are your own best advocate.
More than 1.6 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer this year and among those that develop febrile neutropenia, more than 80 percent require hospitalization.2,3 According to the National Cancer Institute, patient-clinician communication plays an important role in optimizing health outcomes for patients with cancer.4
The cornerstone of the campaign is a series of videos, available at www.AtHomeWithJoan.com, which feature one-on-one, intimate conversations at home between Lunden and breast cancer survivors discussing topics such as:
- The importance of educating yourself about your treatment options and having open dialogue with your doctor
- Why a strong support network and partnering with your healthcare team is critical
- Staying positive and maintaining a sense of control throughout the experience
- Patient experiences with treatment to reduce the risk of infection associated with strong chemotherapy
"While I've been on thousands of assignments throughout my career, I feel that perhaps my most important one is my current mission to educate and empower others to better understand their cancer and treatment options available so that they can play an active role in their care," said Lunden. "With so much information out there and critical decisions to make, it's normal to feel overwhelmed. By sharing our stories, we can learn from each other. It is my hope that these heartfelt conversations with courageous, inspiring survivors will provide candid perspectives and tips on how to advocate for yourself and ask the right questions early on."
At Home with Joan also features conversations between Lunden and Edward George, M.D., medical oncologist, and Tina Pryor, RN, oncology nurse, which focus on what to expect from treatment with strong chemotherapy, tips for doctors' appointments including what questions to ask, what to wear to treatments, coping with hair loss and ways to reduce the frequency of clinic visits by helping to protect yourself from infection right from home.
Like Lunden and the At Home with Joan participants, many newly diagnosed cancer patients will undergo strong chemotherapy and may be unaware of the potential risks associated with this type of treatment, including infection, as manifested by febrile neutropenia, and the important questions to ask their care team.
"While strong chemotherapy targets tumor cells that are rapidly dividing, what many patients don't realize is it can also affect other cells, including blood cells," said Dr. George. "As an oncologist, a reduction of white blood cell count is one of my biggest concerns because it can leave patients susceptible to infection and hospitalization. This is a serious topic that patients need to be aware of so they can speak to their doctor about treatment options to help prevent it."
"My hope as an oncology nurse is that each patient's healthcare team has discussed treatment options that help reduce the risk of infection, including Neulasta® (pegfilgrastim) Onpro®, which is applied the same day as a patient's chemotherapy appointment, so they can spend more time at home with their families," said Pryor. "These patients want to get back to their normal life and recover in the comfort of their own home. As a member of their support team, I want patients to know there are treatment options to help bring back that normalcy and comfort that frequent clinic and hospital visits interrupt."
To view the eight-part video series and learn more about upcoming community events featuring Lunden, fellow survivors and cancer experts, visit www.AtHomeWithJoan.com. Additional resources include a printable Doctor Discussion guide for patients to bring to their appointments with important questions to ask about treatment.
About Joan Lunden
As the longest running female host ever on early morning television, Joan Lunden was the co-host of Good Morning America for nearly two decades. Lunden is an award-winning journalist, bestselling author, health and wellness advocate, international speaker, and a mom of seven children. After being diagnosed with breast cancer in June of 2014, Lunden made it her mission to educate and inspire others about breast cancer prevention, treatment, and survival. Lunden speaks all over the country about her breast cancer journey, health & wellness, inspiration, and success.
About Neulasta® (pegfilgrastim)
Neulasta is indicated to decrease the incidence of infection, as manifested by febrile neutropenia, in patients with nonmyeloid malignancies receiving myelosuppressive anti-cancer drugs associated with a clinically significant incidence of febrile neutropenia. Neulasta is not indicated for the mobilization of peripheral blood progenitor cells for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. In a pivotal clinical trial, in patients with nonmyeloid malignancies undergoing myelosuppressive chemotherapy associated with a clinically significant incidence of febrile neutropenia, treatment with Neulasta was shown to significantly reduce the incidence of febrile neutropenia.
Neulasta is administered by manual injection and is also available via the Neulasta Onpro kit, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2014 and includes a specially designed, single-use prefilled syringe co-packaged with an on-body injector for Neulasta.
For more information about Neulasta, visit www.Neulasta.com and www.NeulastaHCP.com.
Important Safety Information Regarding Neulasta®
Do not administer Neulasta® to patients with a history of serious allergic reactions to pegfilgrastim or filgrastim.
Splenic rupture, including fatal cases, can occur following the administration of Neulasta®. Evaluate for an enlarged spleen or splenic rupture in patients who report left upper abdominal or shoulder pain after receiving Neulasta®.
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome
Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) can occur in patients receiving Neulasta®. Evaluate patients who develop fever and lung infiltrates or respiratory distress after receiving Neulasta for ARDS. Discontinue Neulasta® in patients with ARDS.
Serious Allergic Reactions
Serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, can occur in patients receiving Neulasta®. The majority of reported events occurred upon initial exposure. Allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, can recur within days after the discontinuation of initial anti-allergic treatment. Permanently discontinue Neulasta® in patients with serious allergic reactions.
Allergies to Acrylics
The on-body injector for Neulasta® uses acrylic adhesive. For patients who have reactions to acrylic adhesives, use of this product may result in a significant reaction.
Use in Patients with Sickle Cell Disorders
Severe sickle cell crises can occur in patients with sickle cell disorders receiving Neulasta®. Severe and sometimes fatal sickle cell crises can occur in patients with sickle cell disorders receiving filgrastim, the parent compound of pegfilgrastim.
Glomerulonephritis has been reported in patients receiving Neulasta®. The diagnoses were based upon azotemia, hematuria (microscopic and macroscopic), proteinuria, and renal biopsy. Generally, events of glomerulonephritis resolved after withdrawal of Neulasta®. If glomerulonephritis is suspected, evaluate for cause. If causality is likely, consider dose‐reduction or interruption of Neulasta®.
White blood cell counts of 100 x 109/L or greater have been observed in patients receiving pegfilgrastim. Monitoring of CBCs during pegfilgrastim therapy is recommended.
Capillary Leak Syndrome
Capillary leak syndrome has been reported after granulocyte colony‐stimulating factor (G‐CSF) administration, including Neulasta®, and is characterized by hypotension, hypoalbuminemia, edema, and hemoconcentration. Episodes vary in frequency, severity and may be life‐threatening if treatment is delayed. Patients who develop symptoms of capillary leak syndrome should be closely monitored and receive standard symptomatic treatment, which may include a need for intensive care.
Potential for Tumor Growth Stimulatory Effects on Malignant Cells
The granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) receptor, through which pegfilgrastim and filgrastim act, has been found on tumor cell lines. The possibility that pegfilgrastim acts as a growth factor for any tumor type, including myeloid malignancies and myelodysplasia, diseases for which pegfilgrastim is not approved, cannot be excluded. The most common adverse reactions (≥ 5% difference in incidence) in placebo-controlled clinical trials are bone pain and pain in extremity.
Please see additional Neulasta® Safety Information, by visiting www.amgen.com/medpro/products.html.
Please see the Neulasta® Full Prescribing Information by clicking here.
Amgen is committed to unlocking the potential of biology for patients suffering from serious illnesses by discovering, developing, manufacturing and delivering innovative human therapeutics. This approach begins by using tools like advanced human genetics to unravel the complexities of disease and understand the fundamentals of human biology.
Amgen focuses on areas of high unmet medical need and leverages its expertise to strive for solutions that improve health outcomes and dramatically improve people's lives. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen has grown to be one of the world's leading independent biotechnology companies, has reached millions of patients around the world and is developing a pipeline of medicines with breakaway potential.
For more information, visit www.amgen.com and follow us on www.twitter.com/amgen.
About Amgen's Commitment to Oncology
Amgen Oncology is committed to helping patients take on some of the toughest cancers, such as those that have been resistant to drugs, those that progress rapidly through the body and those where limited treatment options exist. Amgen's supportive care treatments help patients combat certain side effects of strong chemotherapy, and our targeted medicines and immunotherapies focus on more than a dozen different malignancies, ranging from blood cancers to solid tumors. With decades of experience providing therapies for cancer patients, Amgen continues to grow its portfolio of innovative and biosimilar oncology medicines.
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Amgen, Thousand Oaks
Kristen Davis, 805-447-3008 (media)
Kristen Neese, 805-313-8267 (media)
Arvind Sood, 805-447-1060 (investors)
- National Cancer Institute. Febrile neutropenia. https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms?cdrid=415543. Accessed October 3, 2017.
- American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2017. https://www.cancer.org/content/dam/cancer-org/research/cancer-facts-and-statistics/annual-cancer-facts-and-figures/2017/cancer-facts-and-figures-2017.pdf. Accessed October 3, 2017.
- Weycker D, et al. Incidence, treatment and consequences of chemotherapy-induced febrile neutropenia in the inpatient and outpatient settings. J Oncol Pharm Pract. 2014;20:190–198.
- National Cancer Institute. Patient-centered communication in cancer care: Promoting healing and reducing suffering. https://healthcaredelivery.cancer.gov/pcc/pcc_monograph.pdf. Accessed October 3, 2017.
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