The ongoing research activities has these main features:
- Cancer pain and its management: Pain, both for its high frequency and the documented impact on quality of life, is one of the main symptoms of neoplastic disease. About 80% of patients with advanced disease have moderate to severe pain; 30 to 50% of patients may also experience sudden exacerbations of pain defined as “Intense Episodic Pain”. A correct characterization of pain for identifying the underlying pathophysiology may significantly affect the therapeutic strategy. However, the heterogeneity and complexity of patients with cancer pain are a significant challenge for research. The ability to predict the analgesic response, identifying individuals who have less ability to respond to standard treatment for basic cancer pain, the definition of the possible pathogenic mechanisms that determine the onset of breakthrough pain as well as the definition of its treatment are the new starting points for the development of clinical research protocols.
- Nutrition and lifestyle: The ANT foundation works to promote research in the field of home artificial nutrition (HAN) and its appropriate use, while promoting the correct eating habits for the prevention of cancer.
- Psychoncology: The psychological and relational aspects play a central role in the management of patients in the advanced stages of the disease and their family. The research projects in this field are focused on the identification and assessment of cognitive, emotional and behaviour dynamics that characterize the progression of the disease, both for the patients and their family members, as well as the care team. Particular attention is paid to the communicative and relational aspects and their impact on disease management.
- Supportive Care: The different stages of oncological disease can be characterized by a great variety and intensity of symptoms that seriously compromise the quality of life of the patient. In the early stages, the supportive care is designed to prevent and manage any adverse events associated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy in order to ensure the physical and mental wellbeing of the patient and a greater adherence to the treatment protocols both in terms of the dose rate and the dosing interval. In later stages of the disease, the symptoms related to the disease are added to the symptoms related to the antineoplastic treatments. Hence the need to intervene with supportive therapies that can relieve both the physical complications and the emotional burden for the patient and their families through psychological interventions and psychosocial support.
- Suitability of the therapeutic assistance strategy: The aim is to make the best use of resources to ensure a uniformity of treatment approach, benchmarks and suitability of the patient’s treatment.