Experts Forecast Cancer Research and Treatment Advances in 2020

Around 400 BC, the Greek physician Hippocrates is believed to have first described tumors as “cancer,” using the words “karkinos” or “karkinoma,” which stem from the Greek word for “crab”. Today, hundreds of different types of cancer have been described. As our understanding of this group of diseases continues to grow, cancer prevention, detection, and treatment advancements continue to evolve.

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FDA Rounded out 2019 by Approving a New Treatment for Pancreatic Cancer

In the final days of 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved expanding the use of a previously approved molecularly targeted therapeutic called olaparib (Lynparza) to include treating certain patients diagnosed with one of the deadliest types of cancer—pancreatic cancer.

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FDA Approves New Treatments for Three Cancer Types 

In the past few weeks, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced three approvals for new treatments for several types of cancer. On December 18, the FDA approved the new molecularly targeted therapeutic enfortumab vedotin-ejfv (Padcev) to treat certain patients who have bladder cancer; on November 21, the agency expanded the use of the molecularly targeted therapeutic acalabrutinib (Calquence) to include treating adults who have chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) or small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL); and on November 14, it approved the new molecularly targeted therapeutic zanubrutinib (Brukinsa) to treat certain patients who have mantle cell lymphoma.  

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2019 in Review: Progress Across Many Areas of Cancer Research

In 2019, research continued to drive progress across the spectrum of cancer care in the form of new and better ways to prevent, detect, diagnose, and treat some of the many diseases we call cancer. Here’s a look at some key developments in drug approvals, immunotherapy, precision medicine, and disparities research.

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Project GENIE Contributes Data on More Than 40,000 New Cancer Cases

The National Cancer Institute’s Genomic Data Commons (GDC) has released data for 44,756 cancer cases from the American Association for Cancer Research’s Project Genomics Evidence Neoplasia Information Exchange, more simply known as AACR Project GENIE. This massive project was launched in 2015 with the goal of building an international, pan-cancer registry with tens of thousands of patients to empower precision oncology.

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Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy Conference: Understanding Adverse Events

Immunotherapeutic advances have dramatically changed the treatment landscape for a host of different cancer types. Notably, immune checkpoint inhibitors – drugs that target the CTLA-4 or the PD-1/PD-L1 axis – have been approved for the treatment of more than a dozen cancers, and numerous clinical trials evaluating such agents in combination with other drugs are currently underway.

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SABCS to Showcase Advances in Breast Cancer Treatments

Editor’s note: When the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) kicks off next week, researchers will present the results of dozens of clinical trials. Among several eagerly anticipated studies is a phase II trial of the TKI inhibitor tucatinib, given in combination with trastuzumab (Herceptin) and capecitabine.

A version of this article on the tucatinib trial is freely available on the Cancer Discovery website, where you can find further coverage of SABCS throughout the meeting.

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Cancer Survivors Become Advocates on Capitol Hill

As 2019 draws to a close, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is grateful for our growing ranks of cancer patients and survivors who join us in advocating for strong federal funding for medical research. This year, Tomma Hargraves and Nicole Robinson joined us on Capitol Hill for the Rally for Medical Research, an annual gathering in which more than 300 national organizations ask lawmakers to make continued funding for the National Institutes of Health a priority.

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