Research

Integrative Cancer Science • Global Impact • Individualized Patient Care: Highlights of the AACR 2019 Annual Meeting

I have a huge soft spot for the annual AACR meeting. Back in my graduate school days, the annual AACR meeting was the largest global gathering of basic cancer researchers. With over 23,000 attendees this year, it still is—except that the meeting has evolved over the years to include more and more clinical research to answer the fundamental question: How can we truly build upon our knowledge of basic science to impact patient care? The 2019 annual meeting takes this question a step forward, as evident from this year’s meeting theme.

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Identifying Predictors for Immunotherapy Toxicities

In recent years, immunotherapy, a treatment that enhances the body’s own immune cancer-fighting response, has been shown to be a very promising treatment option. Immunotherapy has proven effective for treating multiple cancer types, including some types of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Among these NSCLC patients, currently about 20% respond to the treatment.

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Webinar: Comprehensive Biomarker Testing in Advanced-Stage Lung Cancers

Since the discovery of the first epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation in lung cancer in 2004, targeted therapies and immunotherapies have become a major component of the treatment arsenal for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Biomarkers are features of a cancer that predict how it will respond to certain treatments. They help doctors select the most appropriate treatment for the cancer.

Two examples of biomarkers are:

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Webinar: Stage III Non-small Cell Lung Cancer and Immunotherapy

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type of lung cancer, comprising 85% of all diagnosed cases of lung cancer. Treatment of NSCLC is dependent on the stage of the disease, determined during the lung cancer staging process. In stage III NSCLC, the primary (original) tumor is large and the cancer has spread to lymph nodes in the center of the chest or other lymph nodes that are on the same side as the primary tumor.

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Overcoming Resistance to Targeted Therapies in EGFR-Positive Patients

In 2004, after the discovery of mutations in the EGFR gene in lung cancer, the FDA approved a targeted therapy that increased survival in EGFR-positive NSCLC patients. However, the tumors inevitably became resistant to the treatment, and the cancer returned unchecked.

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New Technique Deepens Our Understanding of Small Cell Lung Cancer

Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) accounts for about 15% of all lung cancers and is found most often in people with a history of tobacco exposure. Patients with late-stage SCLC often respond so well to initial treatments that the cancer usually regresses and can even become undetectable in some cases. Unfortunately, in the vast majority of these cases, the cancer soon returns aggressively and is then resistant to treatment.

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A Solid Step Toward the Early Detection of Squamous Cell Lung Cancer

Dr. Joshua Campbell has been immersed in the field of lung cancer for several years and wanted to find a better way to diagnose squamous cell lung cancer patients, a subtype of non-small cell lung cancer, while the cancer is in early stages. “There is a huge need for research in this area,” he notes. “Improving early detection techniques will be key to improving survival rates for patients with squamous cell lung cancer.”

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The 3 C’s of Lung Cancer (Change, Collaboration, and Creation): Highlights of World Lung 2018

September 2018 ended with a bang! The 19th World Conference for Lung Cancer was hosted in Toronto, summer unofficially ended in New York, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved another drug, dacomitinib, for lung cancer … I am sure I am missing a few things.

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Hope on the Horizon for KRAS-positive Lung Cancer Patients

A newly diagnosed patient with advanced-stage adenocarcinoma, a sub-type of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), may have their biopsy tissue tested for known biomarkers. The oncologist requests biomarker testing to look for changes in cancer cells to help personalize the patient’s treatment. Patients that are positive for biomarkers such as PD-L1 and EGFR have seen a lot of progress in treatment options over the last five years. However, targeted treatments for the KRAS mutation haven’t yet arrived.

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