Objectives
  • To become familiar with all aspects of pharmacology and mechanisms of action of biological therapies, comprising cytokines and haematopoietic growth factors, and expected adverse events in patients with malignancies (for immunotherapy, see chapter 4.3.5)

  • To be able to appropriately select biological therapy and to perform specialist care for patients receiving these therapies

Awareness
  • Awareness of the existence of different biological therapy options for the management of patients with malignancies

  • Appreciation of the principles of pharmacology and mechanisms of action of the various biological therapies

  • Awareness of the existence of established biomarkers guiding choice of therapy

  • Awareness of the existence of different adverse events profiles of biological therapies and management strategies for same

  • Awareness of the principles of incorporation of biological therapy with other treatment modalities where appropriate

Knowledge
  • Familiarity with the different classes of biological therapy available for management of patients with advanced malignancies

  • Familiarity with the pharmacology and mechanisms of action of these agents

  • Familiarity with the indications for use of biological therapy and factors guiding appropriate selection of therapy for patients

  • Familiarity with the work-up of patients prior to initiation of biological therapy and appropriate monitoring during therapy

  • Familiarity with the dosing, schedule and dose-adjustment parameters

  • Familiarity with the side-effect profiles of biological therapy, and their management in terms of supportive care and appropriate alteration of the treatment plan in response to same

  • Understanding of the role of biological therapy in the management of patients with malignancies

  • Knowledge of the expected treatment outcome of biological therapy in patients with malignancies

Skills
  • Ability to contribute actively to the decision to prescribe and appropriately select biological therapy for patients with malignancies, through discussions in the clinic and case presentations

  • Ability to contribute actively to the counselling process with patients regarding treatment indication and options, dosing and schedule of therapy, and expected adverse effects of therapy as well as management strategies to deal with same

  • Ability to recognise and manage the capillary leak syndrome seen with cytokines

  • Ability to contribute actively to the discussion on the pros and cons of treatment choice and alternative treatment strategies with patients

  • Ability to recognise considerations in the work-up of patients prior to therapy, and the management of side effects of biological therapy