5 Cancer Research Stories Worth Following – Fall 2016

Cancer research stories worth following for fall 2016 include a possible new addition to the treatment toolkit for advanced ovarian cancer.What’s exciting in cancer research right now? In this post, I’ll review several of the most interesting cancer research stories that have been in the news this fall.

These are a few of the recent stories that seem to have the greatest potential impact, at least from my perspective, and that I know I’ll want to follow as they develop further.

Stories worth following this fall include two studies on financial toxicity and new developments in targeted cancer therapies for ovarian cancer and for metastatic breast cancer.  Continue reading

Metastatic Breast Cancer: Learning About Innovative Research Approaches

Researchers are using genomic studies to develop better treatments for metastatic breast cancer.In a recent post, we looked at highlights of a major report on the status of metastatic breast cancer care and research. That report notes that progress against MBC has slowed and, over the past decade, only about 7% of research publications about breast cancer have been specifically about metastatic breast cancer. It also talked about several things that need to be done to accelerate progress and offered some hope that we are beginning to move in the right direction.

Shortly after writing that post, I attended an event where I learned about some fascinating MBC research that is going on now. The event was the 2016 Advocate Leadership Summit organized by the National Breast Cancer Coalition.

I’ll share here a few of my impressions from parts of the program that focused specifically on MBC research. Videos of these sessions are now available on the NBCC website. Continue reading

5 Cancer Research Stories Worth Following – Summer 2016

Cancer research stories worth following this summer include a study on extending the use of aromatase inhibitors in the treatment of hormone receptor-positive breast cancer.What’s exciting in cancer research right now? In this post, I’ll review several of the most interesting cancer research stories that have been in the news this summer.

These are a few of the recent stories that seem to have the greatest potential impact, at least from my perspective, and that I know I’ll want to follow as they develop further.

Stories worth following include several studies presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in June.  Among those were a study on extending the use of aromatase inhibitors in breast cancer treatment; findings that a web app boosts survival for patients with lung cancer; and, research on the use of a “biosimilar” treatment that can substitute for the breast cancer drug Herceptin. Continue reading

Cancer Clinical Trials: Why Don’t More of Us Participate?

Why don't more cancer patients participate in clinical trials?A recent study got me thinking again about one of the central issues around clinical trials — why don’t more of us participate?

Less than 5 percent of adult cancer patients overall participate in clinical trials, and the rate is even lower for patients from minority populations.

Some of the concerns that keep people from joining clinical trials arise from misperceptions about how clinical trials work. But often patients don’t know to ask about clinical trials and their doctors don’t mention them.

Continue reading

5 Cancer Research Stories Worth Following – Spring 2016

Cancer research stories worth following this spring include a potential new treatment combination for HER2-positive breast cancer.What’s exciting in cancer research right now? In this post, I’ll review several of the most interesting cancer research stories that have been in the news this spring.

These are a few of the recent stories that seem to have the greatest potential impact, at least from my perspective, and that I know I’ll want to follow as they develop further.

Stories worth following include a potential new combination treatment for HER2-positive breast cancer, evidence from a large clinical trial of a gene assay that may help reduce unnecessary treatment, and a new study that offers some insights on male breast cancer. Continue reading

Metastatic Breast Cancer: How Can We Accelerate Progress?

Genomic studies will play an important role in precision medicine for metastatic breast cancer.For a long time, there has been a critical need for research that is focused specifically on metastatic breast cancer. That means understanding what causes metastasis and how we can intervene to shut down this process even after it has started. Although a true “cure” may not be possible, the question is whether we can treat the disease in such a way that patients live for a very long time with good quality of life.

That should not be so far-fetched an idea. HIV/AIDS not long ago was usually fatal, and now this disease can be managed as a chronic condition with a combination of drugs that patients take for the rest of their lives. Could something like this be possible for breast cancer that has become metastatic?

There have been some amazing advances in the treatment of metastatic melanoma and metastatic lung cancer using immune system therapies. Why have we not seen similar advances in treating metastatic breast cancer?

Continue reading

Clinical Trials: How Can Patients Benefit More?

Sharing of data from clinical trials could help accelerate progress against cancer.These days the media hype around cancer “breakthroughs” seems to have reached a new high. There have been advances, but there is still such a long way to go before we can say we have real breakthroughs that are changing the outlook for most patients.

There are likely many reasons why progress is so slow. But one thing that would almost certainly make a big difference is if there were true collaboration among researchers conducting clinical trials.

Clinical trials are expensive and time consuming. Patients in clinical trials have chosen to participate not just for their own benefit but also to make a contribution for the greater good. And yet, the knowledge we as a society draw from many clinical trials is often incomplete or even nonexistent.

Continue reading

5 Cancer Research Stories Worth Following – Winter 2016

Recent cancer research stories worth following include a clinical trial of a new targeted treatment for triple negative breast cancer.What’s exciting in cancer research right now? In this post, I’ll review several of the most interesting cancer research stories that have been in the news this winter.

These are a few of the recent stories that seem to have the greatest potential impact, at least from my perspective, and that I know I’ll want to follow as they develop further.

Stories worth following include research on how the high cost of cancer treatment affects patients’ survival, an experimental targeted therapy for triple negative breast cancer and some striking preliminary trial results for a type of immune system therapy. Continue reading

How Could a Blood Test Be Used Soon in Breast Cancer Care?

Can we detect breast cancer with a blood test or liquid biopsy?We’ve heard a lot in the news over the last year about how researchers are working to develop a blood test to detect cancer, sometimes referred to as a “liquid biopsy”.

What should we make of all this? A blood test, whether for early detection or to aid in treatment and monitoring, would be a wonderful development. But how close are we really?

As I headed to San Antonio for the annual Breast Cancer Symposium in December, I wondered what we might hear there about progress toward a liquid biopsy for breast cancer. I’ve shared some highlights from the Symposium in a recent post. In this post, I’ll share my impressions from the Symposium on where things stand with work toward a liquid biopsy for breast cancer. Continue reading

10 Things We Learned About Progress Against Cancer in 2015

A review of major developments in cancer research and breast cancer in 2015.Looking back over the past year, what were some of the big things we learned that contribute to the progress that’s being made against cancer?

Here are ten of the stories that stood out most for me. Some involved new treatments or evolving treatment approaches. Others were about important policy issues, including the high costs of cancer care, and the pressing need for solutions. And again this year we were reminded of the importance of accuracy when it comes to reporting about celebrity cancer stories. Continue reading