One of the stories that has stood out over the last few years in breast cancer treatment was the FDA’s approval in 2015 of the drug palbociclib (Ibrance) for treatment of hormone receptor-positive metastatic breast cancer (MBC). Palbociclib was the first in a category of targeted therapies called CDK 4/6 inhibitors to receive FDA approval. These therapies are used in combination with the hormone therapy fulvestrant and are now part of standard-of-care treatment for patients with hormone-receptor positive MBC. Continue reading
Earlier this month, the long-awaited results of the TAILORx clinical trial were announced.
The findings from this study are important for early stage breast cancer patients with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. The study results are expected to assist many patients in this group in determining whether chemotherapy should be part of their treatment.
The TAILORx findings are also interesting when viewed as part of a developing trend in treatment for early stage breast cancer away from a one-size-fits all approach toward more personalized care. Continue reading
Like many of us, I’ve long felt that one of the best ways to help in the fight against cancer is by making a donation to a charity that conducts or funds cancer research.
Of course, there are many outstanding cancer charities that provide other critical services to the community including patient support and advocacy, and I contribute to several of them. In that vein, I’ve shared my ideas in an earlier post on contributing to breast cancer charities.
However, the focus of this blog is cancer research in particular, and this post is the fourth in a series in which we’re taking a look at high quality charities that support cancer research as their main focus. In this post, we’ll review the Cancer Research Institute, including its mission and approach, history, notable financial facts and results reporting. Continue reading
Back in August 2015, I wrote about an article in the journal Nature on some interesting new discoveries about the role of the hormone progesterone in hormone receptor-positive breast cancer.
The research suggested that adding progesterone to standard treatment with tamoxifen or an aromatase inhibitor could increase the effectiveness of treatment for this subtype of breast cancer, while possibly also lowering toxicity.
2016 was not a year for big breakthroughs in cancer research and improving access to quality care. And yet, it was a year in which many of the issues that need to be addressed if we want to ever see those breakthroughs were front and center.
Those issues include the need for collaborative research and sustained research funding, finding ways to make immune system treatments safer and effective for more patients and addressing the problem of outrageously high drug prices. Continue reading
Many of us are interested in making donations in support of cancer research. But figuring out which organizations will make the most effective use of our contributions isn’t always an easy task. This post is the second in a series in which we’re looking at individual charities that focus primarily on cancer research.
Making a choice based on value for our money means considering factors such as how an organization uses the money it raises, its financial health, and how transparent it is about what has been accomplished with the contributions it has received.
In this post, we review the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, including its mission and approach, history, notable financial facts and results reporting. Continue reading
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.
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?
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.
The title of this book certainly got my attention and made me curious about what the author had to say. Is the “death” of cancer, or the end of cancer as a deadly disease, really possible? Can we actually win the war on cancer, which has been pronounced a failure by many?
Dr. Vincent T. DeVita Jr. joined the National Cancer Institute as a new doctor during the 1960s. There, he worked directly on some of the most important developments in cancer research coming out of that decade, including the development of a cure for Hodgkin’s lymphoma using combination chemotherapy, a treatment approach that was viewed as exceedingly radical at the time. Continue reading