AACI continues to closely monitor the coronavirus pandemic. We will share news, guidelines, and cancer center policies to keep our members informed on COVID-19 as it relates to cancer research and treatment and AACI programs and events.
COVID-19 Discussion Forum
On March 16, AACI launched a Slack workspace as a forum for AACI cancer center members and National Cancer Institute leaders to share challenges and best practices related to COVID-19 and cancer. To ensure confidentiality and encourage open discussion, all requests to join the forum require administrative approval from AACI.
AACI Meeting Changes
The health and well-being of AACI meeting attendees, exhibitors, and cancer center patients is our top priority. As we plan our 2020 meetings, we are closely monitoring the coronavirus pandemic — particularly the impact of COVID-19 on travel and professional conferences.
Together with the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), AACI has postponed the associations' annual joint Hill Day, originally scheduled for Wednesday, May 13.
AACI/AACR Hill Day
Planning for a targeted, virtual day of action is currently underway and we will keep our members informed of other advocacy opportunities throughout the year.
12th Annual AACI CRI Meeting
AACI, together with the Clinical Research Innovation (CRI) Steering Committee and the Board of Directors, has made the difficult decision not to move forward with an in-person meeting in July. Instead, the 12th Annual AACI CRI Meeting will take place July 7-8 in a virtual format.
Registration is now free for AACI cancer center members and sustaining members.
AACI is working to ensure that the online meeting will still deliver the innovative, quality education that its members have enjoyed at prior CRI annual meetings.
Letters to Congress and President Trump
On May 1, AACI sent a letter to President Donald Trump urging the federal government to take the lead in deploying personal protective equipment (PPE) to hospitals, establishing a consistent national COVID-19 testing strategy, and managing the COVID-19 testing supply chain.
Signed by the leaders of AACI cancer centers across the United States, the letter noted that cancer patients are particularly susceptible to COVID-19 infection due to weakened immune systems and other complications, including cancer therapy side effects that can cause severe, sometimes fatal inflammation of the lungs or other tissues.
Read the Press Release
Read and Share the Letter
In an April 24 letter, AACI called upon congressional leaders to consider the needs of academic cancer centers in any new COVID-19 supplemental response legislation.
Priorities include supplemental appropriations for major research agencies and additional funding for hospitals and health systems. AACI also emphasized the priorities outlined in the April 15 letter sent to Congress on behalf of the cancer advocacy community.
Read the Letter
On April 15, nearly 50 cancer advocacy organizations sent a letter to the Hill regarding the fourth coronavirus relief package.
The letter included priorities such as oral chemotherapy parity, requiring insurers to provide a 90-day supply of retail medications, creating a special enrollment period for HealthCare.gov, increasing funding for state Medicaid programs, and providing assistance for people who have lost employer-sponsored health coverage.
AACI drafted the letter with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Cancer Support Community, Friends of Cancer Research, National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Read the Letter
In a March 23 letter to President Donald Trump, AACI implored him to immediately invoke the Defense Production Act (DPA) to marshal American manufacturing to forcefully confront the COVID-19 emergency. The association also called for military mobilization to help build temporary hospital facilities and to assist hospital personnel.
"[T]he situation is already desperate in many of our hospitals,," cancer center directors wrote. "Failure to act decisively and immediately will undoubtedly result in the tragic, massive, and ultimately avoidable loss of many American lives."
In a March 27 presidential memorandum, President Trump directed his administration to use "any and all authority available under the Defense Production Act to require General Motors to accept, perform, and prioritize Federal contracts for ventilators."
As of April 2, the president expanded the DPA order to include General Electric, Hill-Rom Holdings, Medtronic, ResMed, Philips, and Vyaire Medical, all device companies that already produce ventilators.
Read the Press Release
Read and Share the Letter
As AACI continues to closely monitor the coronavirus pandemic, we are pleased to share this overview of ways that our Corporate Roundtable members are directly supporting cancer centers and their patients during these unprecedented and challenging times.
The AACI Corporate Roundtable provides a forum for AACI cancer centers to address topics of mutual interest with their pharmaceutical industry colleagues. This interaction has the potential to advance the progress of research and ultimately benefit patients with cancer and their families.
COVID-19 assistance from our corporate partners covers a wide range of activities, from maintaining the integrity of clinical trials and ensuring the flow of protective equipment and other supplies to cancer centers, to accelerating vaccine development and providing medicine to patients facing financial hardship.
AACI thanks its Corporate Roundtable members for sharing information about their cancer-related COVID-19 work and for their ongoing support and commitment: AbbVie, Amgen, Astellas, Bristol Myers Squibb, Genentech, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Kite, Lilly, Merck, Pfizer, and Takeda Oncology.
Read the May 2020 Commentary.
By AACI Staff
The World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic on Wednesday, March 11; two days later, President Donald Trump proclaimed a national emergency in the United States. AACI members have been taking measures to limit exposure to the coronavirus in order to protect cancer patients, their families, and the community at large from infection with COVID-19.
The following AACI Commentary provides an overview of members’ current COVID-19 activities, although it may not fully reflect the efforts of AACI’s 100 members. For real-time updates, AACI is launching a platform for members to discuss how they are addressing this evolving public health crisis.
Read the March 2020 Commentary.
Last updated May 29, 2020