Over the rest of this week I’m going to take some topics related to oncology and discuss them in more detail as part of a mini series about how cancer research is changing.
We all know that cancer isn’t one disease, but actually a myriad of different subsets, often even within each tumour type. You can see the gradual shift aware from treating a type of cancer eg breast, lung, lymphoma, leukemia, melanoma etc to finding the driving the mutations and matching the patient to the therapy.
Having just returned from the European Hematology Association (EHA) meeting in London, I can say I was absolutely fascinated by the phase II data on brentuximab vedotin or Adcetris as it is now known (Seattle Genetics and Millennium), the antibody drug conjugate (ADC) in anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL). Previously, we discussed the amazing data in Hodgkin Lymphoma but the photos of the patient responses in ALCL before and after treatment were amazing.
Targeting the CD30 antibody on the surface of the cancer cells.
We can clearly see that as we learn more from basic research about the underlying mechanisms of growth, proliferation, survival and metastases, so our knowledge and ability to slow down disease progression and perhaps even stop the disease in it’s tracks also improves dramatically in some areas.
In the future, I can see triple negative breast cancer being segmented in various subtypes, for example, each with a different driving mutation and treating accordingly with carefully selected therapies, rather than treating them all as one homogenous subset of breast cancer, when they are in fact, heterogeneous.
There are several areas where we have made huge strides over the last five years:
- Earlier diagnosis
- Chemoprevention and slowing the inflammatory response
- Identifying biomarkers, both prognostic and predictive of responses
- Preventing metastases
- Translational scientist-clinicians
Over the next few days, I’m going to take a deeper look at these areas and discuss some of the new technology and research that is emerging in oncology as part of an updated landscape overview in cancer research.
If you have any other areas you would like covered, please do make suggestions in the Comments below.