Highlights of ONS Congress 2024 With Maria Badillo, MSN, RN, OCN®, CCRP

While at the recent Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) 49th Annual Congress in Washington, DC, Oncology Data Advisor Editorial Board member Maria Badillo sat down to reflect on the conference, share her top three favorite presentations, and explain what information she’s planning on bringing home and sharing with her nursing team and patients.

Oncology Data Advisor: Welcome to Oncology Data Advisor. Today, we’re here at ONS Congress in Washington, DC, and I am joined by Maria Badillo. Maria is a Research Nurse Manager at MD Anderson Cancer Center and one of our Editorial Board members for Oncology Data Advisor. Thanks so much for coming on today.

Maria Badillo, MSN, RN, OCN®, CCRP: Good morning, everyone. My name is Maria. Like Keira said, I am the Research Nurse Manager in the Lymphoma/Myeloma Department at MD Anderson.

Oncology Data Advisor: So, how have you been enjoying ONS Congress so far?

Ms. Badillo: It’s definitely a great conference so far. It’s only Friday morning, and we still have a lot to see this afternoon and tomorrow, so I’m very, very excited. I’ve learned so much on just Wednesday and Thursday.

Oncology Data Advisor: It’s really been a great conference. What are some of the most interesting presentations that you’ve seen so far?

Ms. Badillo: Like I did for our podcast last year, I have my top three choices. The third was the session on genomic biomarkers. As nurses, our focus is to give the drug and make sure that adverse events are being monitored, but now we’re starting to learn about the genomic profiling of these patients. We can better understand why certain treatments are being given instead of other treatments, so that’s very cool.

The second one was the chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells and bispecifics talk. Basically, chemotherapy is now down the road. We’re focusing more on the CAR T cells and the bispecifics. It was very exciting yesterday when I found out that even community hospitals are very much involved with giving out CAR T and bispecific treatments.

Oncology Data Advisor: I know you do a lot of work with CAR T in the clinical trials at MD Anderson, so I’m sure it’s exciting to see it entering the community hospitals.

Ms. Badillo: Exactly, yes. And of course, the top is the keynote address from Kelsey Tainsh yesterday. It was very inspiring, and she made us feel like we’re very important as oncology nurses and what we do is very important.

Oncology Data Advisor: I agree, Kelsey was a great speaker, and it was really inspiring to hear. So, is there any information you have learned here during the presentations that you’re planning to bring back and share with the other nurses in your department?

Ms. Badillo: I’m planning on sharing the information about genomic profiling with my team. Seventeen years ago, when I first started as a research nurse, all we knew was CD19 and CD20. Now with all these biomarkers that we need to know, those are the things that I can share with them. We can ask our doctors to explain the biomarkers better so that we can dig more into why we use these treatments and why we run clinical trials. That’s one thing that I want to share with my team.

Oncology Data Advisor: Absolutely, and same question—is there anything you learned here that you’re planning to share with your patients?

Ms. Badillo: I’m very happy that these CAR T cells and bispecific treatments are not only available in the academic setting, but trials are now open even in community hospitals. Some patients have problems with logistics, and they can’t go back and forth to the big hospitals. Right now, it’s very accessible to the community hospitals. Sometimes they can start the treatment with us in an academic center, and then they can go back home and get the same treatment.

Oncology Data Advisor: That’s really exciting. My last question for you is, since the theme of ONS this year is “Ignite the Extraordinary,” how do you fuel your own motivation as an oncology nurse and strive to ignite the extraordinary among the nursing community?

Ms. Badillo: I came here this year alone—I don’t have any team members with me—but when I attended the big keynote address and heard Kelsey talk, I felt like I wasn’t the only one. The room was full of oncology nurses, and you feel like you’re not alone. You’re all doing the same thing, whether you’re working in the community or you’re in an academic center. She really inspired me and made me realize that sometimes we’re just too focused on our work, and we don’t actually realize that we’re important. She kept on saying that what we do for our patients is very important, not only to the patients, but to the families as well.

Oncology Data Advisor: Absolutely. It’s definitely inspiring to have so many oncology nurses in one place and see how passionate everybody is about their work. Well, this has been wonderful to talk with you today. Thanks so much for stopping by. It’s always great to see you, and we’re looking forward to doing lots more interviews for OncData.

Ms. Badillo: Thank you so much.

About Maria Badillo

Maria Badillo, MSN, RN, OCN®, CCRP, is the Research Nurse Manager in the Lymphoma/Myeloma Department at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. As a clinical trial manager, she develops research strategies and programs, manages protocol design and implementation, and coordinates patient participation in phase 1, 2, and 3 clinical trials. Ms. Badillo’s research focuses on the development of novel therapeutics for patients with hematologic malignancies and the management of adverse events to optimize treatment outcomes.

Transcript edited for clarity. Any views expressed above are the speaker’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Oncology Data Advisor.

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