FDA Approves First Targeted Therapeutic for BRCA-mutant Breast Cancer

On Friday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the molecularly targeted therapeutic olaparib (Lynparza) for treating certain patients with metastatic, HER2-negative breast cancer. The FDA also granted marketing authorization for a test to identify those patients eligible to receive olaparib: patients with an inherited, cancer-associated BRCA1 or BRCA2 (BRCA1/2) mutation.

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Reflections on a Year of Progress in Cancer Research

As 2017 draws to a close, I’ve been reflecting on another year in cancer research. As Chief Executive Officer of the American Association for Cancer Research, I am privileged to witness some of the most exciting discoveries that bring us closer to preventing and curing the complex set of diseases we call cancer.

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Could Genomics Influence Prostate Cancer Treatment?

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers diagnosed in the United States. About one-third of men diagnosed with prostate cancer have a tumor that grows very slowly, making it very unlikely that the disease will progress to become a clinical problem. Characterizing new ways to identify these cancers is an area of active research investigation.

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How Does Lung Cancer Evade the Immune System?

Much has been written, including on this blog, about the rapidly expanding use of immunotherapy to treat an increasing array of cancer types, including lung cancer. The development of these new treatments, which harness a patient’s immune system to fight cancer, is built upon many years of basic research in the fields of immunology and cancer biology.

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Learning From the Immune System of Long-term Pancreatic Cancer Survivors

Pancreatic cancer is a deadly disease with a five-year survival rate of a mere 8.2 percent, according to statistics from the SEER database. Unfortunately, the last 30 years has not seen any significant improvement in survival for patients with this disease. Pancreatic cancer is projected to become the second leading cause of deaths due to cancer in the United States by 2030.

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Advances in Tobacco Control

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of death from lung cancer in the United States. That’s why November, Lung Cancer Awareness Month, is a good time to highlight new advances in tobacco control, such as the legislation that came into effect Nov. 1, 2017, in New Jersey that raises the minimum age of legal access to tobacco products to 21.

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NextGen Grant Recipient Harnesses the Power of Genomics to Understand Pediatric Brain Cancer

Paul Northcott, PhD, inaugural recipient of the AACR NextGen Grant for Transformative Cancer Research, has dedicated his research career to understanding a type of brain cancer called medulloblastoma, with the ultimate goal of improving treatment and prognosis for patients.

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Recent Advances in Measuring Response to Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors

In recent years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved immune checkpoint inhibitors, a class of immunotherapy, to treat 10 different types of cancer, in addition to solid tumors located anywhere in the body that have certain DNA damage and repair-related biomarkers. However, only a small percentage of patients respond to these treatments, and they can have significant side effects. Researchers are looking for biomarkers that can identify patients who are likely to respond to immune checkpoint inhibitors.

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Cultivating a More Diverse Scientific Work Force

The U.S. Latino population surged 243 percent from 1980 to 2010. But in the same time span, the Latino physician work force dropped from 135 to 105 physicians per 100,000, according to a study by the Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture at the University of California, Los Angeles.

This decline is alarming. It means that the growing Latino population does not get culturally competent care needed to improve patient health outcomes.

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