Facing incurable breast cancer at age 55, MaryAnne DiCanto put her faith in “precision medicine” — in which doctors try to match patients with drugs that target the genetic mutations in their tumors. She underwent repeated biopsies to identify therapies that might help. “She believed in it wholeheartedly,” said her husband, Scott Primiano of Amityville, N.Y., a flood-insurance broker. “You live on hope for so long, it’s hard to let go.” Around this point in the average news story, readers would learn how DiCanto — mother to a blended family of five — took a chance on an experimental drug that no one expected to work. She would be the scrappy protagonist whose determination to “keep fighting” enabled her to beat the odds — allowing us to celebrate the triumph of modern science and worry a bit less about our own mortality. But there’s a serious problem with talking about precision medicine for cancer this … [Read more...] about Is ‘Precision Medicine’ The Answer To Cancer? Not Precisely.
Experimental lung cancer treatments
Our Review Summarypublished in the Annals of Oncology. Echoing the optimistic framing of a news release, this Newsweek story focused on the fact that some patients who took their drug saw their tumors shrink, including a quote calling the findings “very encouraging.” It also overlooked discussion of potential harms and and didn’t caution readers that tumor shrinkage doesn’t necessarily lead to longer survival. Why This MattersNearly half of women in the U.S. diagnosed with ovarian cancer don’t live more than five years. Targeted therapies like this one — which are designed to attack specific vulnerabilities in cancer cells — are being tested to treat cases that recur or resist standard treatment with surgery or chemotherapy. While targeted therapies are an important area of research, the public shouldn’t be oversold on early-phase trials or led to think that tumor shrinkage portends a cure. Criteria Not Satisfactory There’s … [Read more...] about Newsweek’s premature optimism about experimental ovarian cancer drug overlooks costs, harms and limitations of the evidence
Health Cancer Scientists say they have created a new drug that can attack ovarian and lung cancers in patients for whom other treatments have failed. The U.K.-based researchers used a new drug along with chemotherapy medication known as paclitaxel on 25 women with high-grade, serous ovarian cancer, and 40 participants with squamous non-small cell lung cancer. The cancers had spread across the bodies of each participant, who did not respond to standard treatment. Over half of patients with ovarian cancer and over a third with lung cancer saw their tumors shrink, according to the study, which was published in the Annals of Oncology. The cocktail also stopped the cancer growing for almost six months, which is unexpected for patients with advanced-stage cancers who were unresponsive to currently available treatments, including chemotherapy, the authors said. Recommended Slideshows 51 50 Healthy Foods That Are Secretly Unhealthy 51 50 Facts About the Human Body You … [Read more...] about Experimental Drug Vistusertib Could Shrinks Tumors in 50% of Ovarian Cancer Patients, Study Suggests
Story highlights There are no available treatments for Alzheimer's disease, the sixth leading cause of death in the US Researchers have begun to use precision medicine and immunotherapy techniques to develop new drugs (CNN)It's been notoriously difficult to develop medicines for Alzheimer's disease, the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Each year, it seems, pharmaceutical companies release data from studies of promising drug candidates that merit only a collective sigh of disappointment. In search of fresh ideas, researchers have begun to borrow a phrase or two from the more familiar language of cancer treatment. Some scientists are studying precision medicine, or personalized medicine, which is routinely used to treat breast and colon cancers. Other researchers are focusing on immunotherapy, an effective form of medicine for skin, lung, kidney, bladder and other cancers. This translation of the cancer-fighting vocabulary to Alzheimer's disease, though, is … [Read more...] about Borrowing from the cancer playbook to find treatment for Alzheimer’s disease
Researchers hope a new partnership with the Minneapolis VA Medical Center and other veterans’ hospitals will boost growth in cancer studies and the development of drugs and personalized therapies. Political, financial and other obstacles have limited VA hospitals’ access to clinical trials offered by the National Cancer Institute, but a new NAVIGATE program is designed to address those barriers by increasing the screening of veterans with cancer for research, and eliminating criteria that might have ruled them out in the past. While trials present risks, they have been shown collectively to improve outcomes for cancer patients and raise the quality of entire hospitals, said Dr. Mark Klein, a Minneapolis VA oncologist. “It’s one of those all-ships-rise things ... They’re able to get access to trials that are working, but they’re also helping the entire system to be focused on improving their care outcomes.” The Minneapolis VA was one of 11 … [Read more...] about Minneapolis VA boosts access to federal cancer trial