Naushin Hooda - CAPhO19 Summary Report

This year’s CAPhO Conference, hosted at the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel with the fitting theme of “Personalized Medicine” was an enriching and memorable experience. Overlooking the city’s scenic harbor, I thoroughly enjoyed the diversity of symposia, plenary sessions, and presentations from inspiring and passionate speakers.

The conference began with the satellite symposia, which covered topics in the treatment and adverse event management of advanced breast cancer, selection of anticoagulant therapy, and advances in the management of locally advanced renal cell carcinoma. I was particularly captivated by the discussions surrounding the ethical and practical considerations of incorporating biosimilars into oncology practice. The equivalency and interchangeability of biosimilars has provoked much debate, and I appreciated the speakers’ insights, as well as the questions and comments from the delegates in attendance. Attendees also learned from the experiences of University College Hospital in London, United Kingdom, which provided an international perspective that further enriched discussion. With many centers moving towards the exclusive use of biosimilars, consistent clinician and patient education alongside a sound multidisciplinary plan were highlighted as foundational components necessary to drive success in the adoption and uptake of biosimilars in the oncology setting.

 The opening plenary highlighted the 50-year historical evolution of breast cancer treatment, setting the stage for the theme of personalized medicine to unravel. From melphalan to immunotherapy, it was fascinating to see how far treatments have come, and promising to see emerging research in this field. The plenary session discussing infertility in female oncology patients particularly resonated with me, as I found the statistics concerning pre-treatment counseling astonishing: only 26% of women 40 years and younger with breast cancer had a documented fertility discussion with their physician! This spoke to the potential role that pharmacists can have in initiating this conversation, especially since fertility intervention, if decided upon, can take time, and may delay treatment.

The conference continued with diverse topics exploring personalized medicine, including harnessing the power of social media, understanding palliative care in the context of oncology, deprescribing, and opioid use disorder. To name a few astonishing statistics – at least 1 in 5 patients with cancer are at risk of opioid use disorder, and unfortunately slip through the cracks in being screened. I was particularly captivated by the session on the human microbiome as a predictor on who may, or may not; respond to chemotherapy – what an exciting area of research!

Mesmerized over the past few years by the research accomplishments and posters displayed by fellow pharmacy professionals over my years in attendance at this conference, I was inspired to complete my own project investigating single-day vs. multi-day dexamethasone in FOLFOX– and for the first time, share it at #CAPhOCon19 (Side note: I found one of my collaborators at #CAPhOCon18 – which speaks to the nurturing and empowering network of CAPhO!) The poster sessions were absolutely incredible, with research categories spanning from comprehensive reviews to clinical and pharmacy practice research. A particular project that stood out to me by Jason Wentzell (and friends) concluded that clinical productivity, as measured by cpKPIs, may be improved with the use of layered practice models involving 2-3 pharmacy students, which was shown to consolidate teaching efforts across multiple learners, provide more specialize roles, and increase capacity for patient care, without compromising productivity. As care moves towards a more personalized approach, I do hope the practitioners at the conference, and those following the conference on social media using the hashtag (#CAPhOCon19), consider integrating learners into everyday practice – we have a reputation of surprising you!

I am pleased to have been selected as the recipient of the CAPhO Student and Resident Travel Grant this year, and would sincerely like to thank the Awards Committee for the unparalleled opportunity to attend this year’s conference. I look forward to attending next year’s conference in my hometown: Toronto! 

Naushin Hooda
Pharm.D. Candidate, Class of 2019
University of Waterloo