Karen Honey, PhD

As senior managing editor, science communications, Karen Honey, PhD, helps the AACR communicate scientific information to the public and educate the public about the importance of lifesaving cancer research. Before joining the AACR, Honey spent eight years working as an editor for two peer-reviewed scientific journals, first Nature Reviews Immunology and then The Journal of Clinical Investigation. During this time, she focused on communicating scientific discoveries to readers with all levels of knowledge, from the lay reader to the scientific expert. Before entering the world of science communication, Honey was a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of world-renowned immunologist Alexander Rudensky. She was born in the United Kingdom and received her doctorate in transplantation immunology from the University of Oxford. Honey currently lives in the Philadelphia suburbs.

FDA Approves a New PARP Inhibitor for BRCA-mutant Breast Cancer

In the midst of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the US. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provided good news for the breast cancer community this week when it approved a new breast cancer therapeutic called talazoparib (Talzenna), which targets ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) proteins. They also approved a test to identify those patients eligible to receive talazoparib: patients with metastatic or locally advanced, HER2-negative breast cancer who have an inherited, cancer-associated BRCA1 or BRCA2 (BRCA1/2) mutation.

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Understanding Inherited Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. In 2018, 266,120 women and 2,550 men are expected to receive the news that they have the disease, according to National Cancer Institute data.

Inherited mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes account for between 5 percent and 10 percent of breast cancers in U.S. women and between 5 percent and 20 percent of breast cancers in U.S. men. For women who undergo genetic testing and learn that they have inherited a BRCA1/2 mutation before they receive a breast cancer diagnosis there are ways to reduce their risk of going on to develop the disease.

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Three New Cancer Treatments Approved by the FDA

Last week saw a flurry of new anticancer therapeutics approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating several types of cancer. On Monday, Sept. 24, the agency approved the molecularly targeted therapeutic duvelisib (Copiktra) for treating certain patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) or small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL), and for treating certain patients with follicular lymphoma. On Thursday, Sept. 27, it approved another molecularly targeted therapeutic—dacomitinib (Vizimpro)—for treating certain patients with non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Then, on Friday, Sept. 28, it approved the immunotherapeutic cemiplimab-rwlc (Libtayo) for treating certain patients with cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma.

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Recent FDA Approvals Signal More Progress Against Cancer

The past month has seen the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expand the use of four anticancer therapeutics, providing new treatment options for patients with four types of cancer. On Aug. 16, 2018, the agency approved the immunotherapeutic nivolumab (Opdivo) for treating certain patients with small cell lung cancer and approved the molecularly targeted therapeutic lenvatinib (Lenvima) for treating certain patients with the most common type of liver cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma.

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AACR Blog Turns 4: How Far Has Immunotherapy Advanced in That Time?

This week marks the fourth anniversary of Cancer Research Catalyst, the official blog of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). As outlined in the welcome post from AACR Chief Executive Officer Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), the blog was launched to increase the spread of new knowledge about cancer.

Over these four years, our blog posts have disseminated information about advances across the breadth of cancer research and the clinical cancer care continuum. One area in which advances have occurred at a particularly rapid pace is immunotherapy.

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FDA Expands Use of Pembrolizumab to Two Additional Cancer Types

Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) increased the number of types of cancer for which pembrolizumab (Keytruda) is a treatment option when it approved the immunotherapeutic for treating certain patients with cervical cancer and certain patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

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FDA Approves Targeted Therapy Combo for Thyroid Cancer

On May 4, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a combination of molecularly targeted therapeutics for the treatment of a certain type of thyroid cancer. Specifically, the FDA approved the use of dabrafenib (Tafinlar) in combination with trametinib (Mekinist) for treating patients who have anaplastic thyroid cancer that cannot be removed by surgery or that has metastasized, and that tests positive for a BRAF V600E gene mutation.

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