Preventing Infections in Cancer Patients Program to Launch Innovative Tools to Improve Patient-Provider Conversations

CDC Foundation Program, Supported by Amgen, Will Launch New Virtual Simulation Mobile Apps and Spanish-Language Website This Summer  

Initiated in 2009, the Program is Instrumental in Providing Key Resources for Patients, Caregivers and Healthcare Professionals to Improve Infection Control During Cancer Treatment

ATLANTA — The CDC Foundation and Amgen today announced several new initiatives that will be available this summer as part of the Preventing Infections in Cancer Patients (PICP) program. The PICP program has been supported by Amgen and led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the CDC Foundation since the program’s launch in 2009. The PICP program is instrumental in providing information, action steps and tools to patients, caregivers and healthcare providers to help reduce the risk of developing life-threatening infections during cancer treatment. 

PICP initiatives launching this summer include the CDC Foundation’s first virtual simulation tools, which have great potential to educate patients and improve conversations between patients and providers about infection risks during chemotherapy. These tools will be available online and as free mobile apps. 

One of the most common and potentially life-threatening side effects of chemotherapy is neutropenia, which may lead to hospitalization, disruption in chemotherapy schedules and even death. Yet when cancer patients are going through chemotherapy treatments, they are often so overwhelmed with their diagnosis and treatment plan that it can be difficult for them to hear or remember conversations about infection risk during chemotherapy. See a preview here of the new simulation tool for oncology providers that includes a role-play conversation with a fully animated and emotionally responsive virtual patient and provider.

At the heart of the PICP program is a belief that every patient should have information tailored to their needs. To meet this goal, a Spanish-language version of the website will also be created to support the Hispanic community. 

“We are grateful to Amgen for their support of this important effort to help protect cancer patients,” said Judith Monroe, MD, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. “A diagnosis of cancer can be overwhelming, but thanks to this partnership, we are helping patients learn how to lower their infection risks when they’re going through chemotherapy.”

According to CDC, infections that are linked to neutropenia are some of the most serious side effects of chemotherapy. Based on the latest data available from 2012, more than 108,419 adults and children in the United States with cancer were hospitalized because of neutropenia. 

“Treatment with chemotherapy can lead to a serious decrease in white blood cells, putting cancer patients at a higher risk for infection and potentially causing dangerous complications that add undue burden for patients, caregivers and health systems,” said Robert Cuddihy, MD, vice president, head of US Medical at Amgen.

The PICP program has achieved a number of milestones since its launch. In 2017 alone, the PICP website had 86,000 unique visitors. Also, PICP resources have been downloaded, received or viewed nearly two million times following efforts to promote the program from CDC and the CDC Foundation. Importantly, recent surveys reflect a 25 percent increase in patients and caregivers’ understanding of neutropenia after visiting the PICP website. 

“Strategic partnerships are key in realizing our mission to make a difference in patient’s lives. Our long-term partnership with the CDC Foundation has allowed us to make a significant impact in the lives of those undergoing chemotherapy and the caregivers supporting them,” said Peter Juhn, MD, vice president, Global Value-Based Partnerships at Amgen.

Media Contacts at Amgen, Thousand Oaks:
Kristen Neese, 805-313-8267 (Media)
Kristen Davis, 805-447-3008 (Media)
Arvind Sood, 805-447-1060 (Investors)