EMILIA Trial: T-DM1 Appears Helpful in Women with Her2+ Metastatic Breast Cancer

The new agent is a hybrid of an old monoclonal antibody, Herceptin, that’s chemically attached to DM1, a traditional kind of chemotherapy. The preliminary results of this randomized trial are encouraging. …It’s hard to know how this promising, likely expensive, intravenous drug will fit in with others for patients with Her2+ breast cancer.

10 Newly-Defined Molecular Types of Breast Cancer in Nature, and a Dream

The 10 molecular BC categories bear prognostic (survival) information and, based on their distinct mutations and gene expression patterns, potential targets for novel drugs….I wonder if, in a few years, some breast cancers might be treated without surgery.

Crizotinib, An Experimental Drug for Some Lung Cancers and Other Tumors With Alk Mutations

Why am I blogging about this drug, a pill, that works imperfectly in perhaps most of 5% of non-small-cell lung cancer patients and, maybe, in some other rare tumors? Because this is the future of oncology and, ultimately I think, will provide cost-effective medicine that’s based in evidence and science. The key is that the investigators tried the experimental drug in lung cancer patients with a specific genetic profile, one that predicts a response to this agent…
How drugs like crizotinib could save money: 1. This drug is a pill; slash the costs of IVs, pumps, bags of saline, nurses to administer…2. Don’t give it to patients without a relevant genetic mutation; 3. Monitor patients for resistance and stop giving drugs when they no longer help the individuals for whom their prescribed.

Considering Targeted Therapies For Cancer

I first heard about STI-571 (Gleevec, a targeted cancer therapy) from a cab driver in New Orleans in 1999. “Some of the doctors told me there’s a new cure for leukemia,” he mentioned.

We were stuck in traffic somewhere between the airport and the now-unforgettable convention center. His prior fare, a group of physicians in town for the American Society of Hematology’s annual meeting, spoke highly of a promising new treatment. It seemed as if he wanted my opinion, to know if it were true. Indeed, Dr. Brian Druker gave a landmark plenary presentation on the effectiveness of STI-571 in patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) at the conference. I was aware of the study findings.

“Yes,” I said. “There is a new drug for leukemia.”

Since then, oncologists’ enthusiasm for targeted therapies – medications designed to fight cancer directly and specifically – has largely held. But the public’s enthusiasm is less apparent. Perhaps that’s because many people are unaware of these new drugs’ potential, or they’re put off by their hefty price tags.

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