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A Closer Look at the Hematology/Oncology PRN

Overview of the PRN

Established in 1994, the Hematology/Oncology PRN aims to connect pharmacists and learners from across the country, who share an interest in hematology and oncology, to network and learn from each other. The PRN provides a forum for hematology/oncology pharmacists and learners to network and collaborate on scientific, educational, and political issues affecting clinical practice, teaching, and research and serves as a resource for expertise to others. This is accomplished through the work of three committees and active committee and non-committee members: Membership & Operations Committee, Scholarship Committee, and Communications Committee.


Chair: Erin Hickey Zacholski, Pharm.D., BCOP

Chair-Elect: Farah Raheem, Pharm.D., BCOP

Secretary-Treasurer: Nikola Paulic, Pharm.D.


All students, residents, and fellows are encouraged to follow the PRN on social media: Twitter @HemOnc_ACCP


Opportunities and Resources for Resident and Fellow PRN Members

Residents and fellows have many networking, scholarship, and leadership opportunities to participate in and benefit from as members of the Hematology/Oncology PRN.

All PRN learner members gain access to the PRN’s email list to stay up to date with the PRN’s biannual newsletter and clinical discussions. Practitioner members enjoy networking with PRN learners at the annual business meeting of the ACCP Annual Meeting – everyone gets an invitation!

Learners are invited and encouraged to apply for service on one of the three committees in a call that goes out by email in late fall to gain leadership experience, give valuable resident and fellow input, and facilitate the PRN’s activities. Learner involvement is critical to achieving the PRN’s goals; as such, mentored opportunities are consistently provided to learners.

In addition to ACCP offerings, opportunities for committee and general learner Hematology/Oncology PRN members include:

  • Presenting monthly journal clubs
  • Working on peer-reviewed scholarly publications (e.g., original research, review articles, white papers, and PRN statements)
  • Participating in annual virtual rotations each December/January
  • Contributing to PRN publications, including the biannual PRN newsletter and informative social media posts through the PRN’s “Teaching Tuesday” Twitter initiative
  • Supporting and coming up with ideas for new PRN initiatives (e.g., learner bootcamps and BCOP study groups)
  • Eligibility for the ACCP Hematology/Oncology PRN Learner Engagement Award (new in 2023!)


Current Clinical Issues Important to Hematology/Oncology PRN Members

The 2022 ACCP Global Conference on Clinical Pharmacy provided a venue for PRN members to connect on issues relevant to hematology/oncology pharmacy practice. The PRN’s focus session, conducted in collaboration with the Pharmaceutical Industry PRN, was titled “Translating Research into Practice: Contemporary Perspectives on the FDA Oncology Drug Approval Process and Novel Clinical Trial Designs” and featured Val Adams, Pharm.D., FCCP, FHOPA, BCOP, and David DeRemer, Pharm.D., FCCP, FHOPA, BCOP. In addition, Hematology/Oncology PRN business meeting attendees openly discussed important topics of supporting new practitioners with mentorship, given the movement of mid-career and senior oncology pharmacists to alternative careers; incorporating nonmalignant hematology into residency training; best practices for clinical pharmacists in investigational drug services; and more.


Current Clinical Issue

Out with the -mAb, in with the New; Nomenclature of Monoclonal Antibodies

At the 73rd WHO International Nonproprietary Names (INN) for Pharmaceutical Substances program held in Geneva in October 2021, the decision was made to discontinue the use of the well-known stem “-mab” and adopt a new nomenclature system for monoclonal antibodies.1

The INN implemented the former nomenclature for monoclonal antibodies in 1991, instituting the highly recognizable “-mab” scheme. Nomenclature of monoclonal antibodies is vital for distinguishing the nature and function of drugs and is important for ensuring individuality in the clinical development, licensing, prescribing, and pharmacovigilance processes.2 The revision in nomenclature, introduced by U.S. Adopted Names Council in conjunction with WHO INN, accounts for challenges in applying unique names to monoclonal antibodies, given the many monoclonal antibodies on the global market and their high rate of development. Currently, over 100 monoclonal antibodies are FDA approved, with uses ranging from oncology to infectious and auto-immune diseases.3

Like the 1991 nomenclature, the new INN nomenclature will be used for “all substances that contain an immunoglobulin variable domain that binds to a defined target, and that are comprised of only immunoglobulin-derived pharmacologically active components.” However, to assign a suffix, the new nomenclature separates monoclonal antibodies into four groups according to monoclonal antibody specificity and modifications (Table 1). Of note, immunoglobulin fusions are only included in this scheme if both domains have immunoglobulin-derived variable domains, and antibody-drug conjugates will also follow this scheme with no added suffix before the conjugate name.


Table 1. New INN Monoclonal Antibody Nomenclature Scheme for Suffixes



Specificity and Modifications



  • -tug = unmodified
  • Monospecific full-length and Fc-unmodified immunoglobulins



  • -bart = antibody artificial
  • Monospecific full-length immunoglobulins with engineered constant domains



  • -mig = multi-immunoglobulin
  • Bi- and multispecific immunoglobulins regardless of format, type, or shape



  • -ment = fragment
  • All monospecific domains, fragments of any kind, derived from an immunoglobulin variable domain


Similar to the 1991 nomenclature, infixes are assigned according to the proposed mechanism of action at the time of INN request in the new 2021 nomenclature (Table 2). Because this occurs relatively early in the development process, the mechanism may not be completely understood at this time.


Table 2. New INN Monoclonal Antibody Nomenclature Scheme for Infixes




Serum amyloid protein (SAP)/amyloidosis






Metabolic or endocrine pathways


Enzyme inhibition




Skeletal muscle mass–related growth factors and receptors


Cytokine and cytokine receptor
















Veterinary use





Practitioners unaware of this monumental change in nomenclature may feel out of date, but this is not the case. Because monoclonal antibody development typically takes 6–9 years, new drug approvals with the novel INN naming convention are unlikely to occur until closer to 2030. However, as clinicians involved in scholarship attuned to trends in or involved with drug development and responsible for educating the next generation of clinicians, hematology/oncology pharmacists should be aware of this change and begin educating others.


Prepared by:

Erin Hickey Zacholski, Pharm.D., BCOP



1.         World Health Organization (WHO). New INN Monoclonal Antibody (mAb) Nomenclature Scheme. November 2021. Available at

2.         Balocco R, De Sousa Guimaraes Koch S, Thorpe R, et al. New INN nomenclature for monoclonal antibodies. Lancet 2022;399:24.

3.         Lythgoe MP. No new “mabs” in medicine – new nomenclature for monoclonal antibodies. Br J Pharmacol 2022;179:5338-9.

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