Advances Against Cancer Progress Report and Review

Advances Against Cancer – ASCO released its annual report on progress against cancer which shows advances in research.

It is an independent review of the progression in the diseases research that have had the greatest impact on patient care this year.

In addition, it identifies the most promising trends in oncology to help victims fight against the disease and provides insights from experts on where the future of patient care is heading.

Clinical Cancer Advances 2011 includes: This year’s top research advancement demonstrates new therapies for reducing recurrence, progress made against hard-to-treat disease, and improvements in disease prevention and screening.

Our top three include:

— A Phase III study finding that vemurafenib (Zelboraf), which targets a common mutation in melanoma in a gene called BRAF, improved overall survival in patients with advanced melanoma when compared to standard chemotherapy.

— A large national screening trial of more than 50,000 current and former heavy smokers that found three annual low-dose computed tomography (CT) scans reduced the death rate of the disease in the lungs by 20 percent compared to those who were screened with three annual chest X-rays.

— FDA approvals on therapies for two hard-to-treat forms of the disease: oCrizotinib (Xalkori) was approved for patients with advanced non-small-cell lung who harbor a specific type of alteration in the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene based on the results from two Phase II studies: one study demonstrated that 50 percent of patients experienced complete or partial tumor shrinkage for a median of 10 months and a second study found a 61 percent objective response rate lasting a median of 12 monthsoIpilimumab (Yervoy) — an immune therapy that activates the immune system’s T cells — was approved for patients with previously untreated metastatic melanoma based on the results of a Phase III trial showing that the drug, combined with the standard chemotherapy drug dacarbazine, improved overall survival by two months.

“We’ve made significant strides in clinical cancer research over the past year and this report adds renewed hope for patients,” said Nicholas J. Vogelzang, MD, Co-Executive Editor of the report. “More personalized treatment approaches and advances in early detection are helping patients live longer, healthier lives. But we must improve the nation’s clinical research system and expand access to quality care to accelerate the pace of progress.”