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 Three New Treatments for AML

The past two weeks have seen a flurry of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approvals of new treatments for acute myeloid leukemia (AML). On Nov. 21, 2018, the FDA approved both glasdegib (Daurismo) and venetoclax (Venclexta) for treating patients with newly diagnosed AML who are age 75 or older, or who have chronic health conditions or diseases that prevent them being treated with the standard intensive chemotherapy. A week later, on Nov. 28, 2018, the agency approved gilteritinib (Xospata) for treating patients whose AML tests positive for a mutation in the FLT3 gene.

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FDA Approves First Targeted Therapeutic Based on Tumor Biomarker, Not Tumor Origin

On Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the highly anticipated approval of the molecularly targeted therapeutic larotrectinib (Vitrakvi) for use based on whether a patient’s tumor tests positive for a specific genetic biomarker and not where in the body the tumor originated.

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FDA Approvals Provide Advances in Precision Medicine and Immunotherapy

During the early part of November, we saw the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approve a new molecularly targeted therapeutic, lorlatinib (Lorbrena), and expand the use of the immunotherapeutic pembrolizumab (Keytruda). These new approvals, which are for the treatment of certain patients with lung cancer and liver cancer, respectively, highlight that progress in the fields of precision medicine and immunotherapy is continuing unabated.

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The Unequal Geographic Burden of Lung Cancer

The lung cancer death rate—the number of lung cancer deaths per 100,000 U.S. men and women—has been decreasing slowly but steadily in the United States for the past 25 years. The latest National Cancer Institute (NCI) data show that it declined 31 percent from a high of 59.1 lung cancer deaths per 100,000 U.S. men and women in 1993 to 40.6 in 2015.

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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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