Why Can’t Dying Patients Get the Drugs They Want?

Excerpt:

“At first glance, a bill passed by the House of Representatives this week seems like the kind of thing anyone could get behind.

“Known as the “Right to Try” legislation, it would allow terminally ill patients access to experimental drugs without the approval of the Food and Drug Administration.

“But the bill and a similar one passed last summer by the Senate do little to address the main barrier that patients face in getting unapproved treatments: permission from the drug companies themselves.”

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Double Mastectomy to Prevent Breast Cancer Reduces Risk of Dying from the Disease in BRCA1 Mutation Carriers – but Does Not Reduce Further the Already Low Risk in BRCA2 Carriers

Excerpt:

“Healthy women who carry a breast cancer-­causing mutation in the BRCA1 gene, not only reduce their risk of developing the disease but also their chances of dying from it if they have both breasts removed, according to new research presented today (Wednesday) at the 11th European Breast Cancer Conference.

“However, the study also found that for women with a mutation in the BRCA2 gene, there was no difference in their chances of dying from the disease whether they opted to have their breasts removed (bilateral risk-­reducing mastectomy or BRRM) or chose to have closer surveillance instead.”

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Phase III IMpower150 Study Showed Roche’s TECENTRIQ (Atezolizumab) and Avastin (Bevacizumab) Plus Carboplatin and Paclitaxel Helped People with Advanced Lung Cancer Live Longer Compared to Avastin Plus Carboplatin and Paclitaxel

Excerpt:

“Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) today announced that the Phase III IMpower150 study met its co-primary endpoint of overall survival (OS) at this interim analysis and showed that initial (first-line) treatment with the combination of TECENTRIQ® (atezolizumab) and Avastin® (bevacizumab) plus carboplatin and paclitaxel (chemotherapy) helped people with advanced non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) live significantly longer compared with Avastin plus carboplatin and paclitaxel. A survival benefit was observed across key subgroups, including those with varying levels of PD-L1 expression. Safety for the TECENTRIQ and Avastin plus carboplatin and paclitaxel combination appeared consistent with the known safety profile of the individual medicines, and no new safety signals were identified with the combinations. These data will be presented at an upcoming oncology congress.”

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New ASTRO Guidelines Recommend Hypofractionated Breast Irradiation

Excerpt:

“An expert panel convened by the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) released a set of recommendations regarding fractionation for whole-breast irradiation (WBI) in women with breast cancer. The guideline includes recommendations for standard practice, factors that should influence fractionation decision making, and issues surrounding tumor bed boost, among other issues.

” ‘Breast cancer is the most common malignancy treated with radiation therapy in the United States, and WBI is the most common radiotherapeutic approach for breast cancer,’ wrote authors led by Benjamin D. Smith, MD, of MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. The standard of care for WBI has involved conventional fractionation (CF), with daily doses of 180 to 200 cGy up to approximately 4,500 to 5,000 cGy; research in the 1990s and 2000s looked into whether moderate hypofractionation (HF) with daily doses of 265 to 330 cGy could offer similar outcomes.”

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NCCN Guidelines Recommend Optune in Combination with Temozolomide as a Category 1 Treatment for Newly Diagnosed Glioblastoma

Excerpt:

“NovoCure (NASDAQ: NVCR) announced today that the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) has updated its clinical practice guidelines to recommend Optune® in combination with temozolomide as a category 1 treatment for newly diagnosed glioblastoma (GBM) in its globally recognized Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) for Central Nervous System Cancers.

“NCCN panel members designated alternating electric field therapy, or Optune, as a Category 1 treatment recommendation for patients with newly diagnosed GBM in conjunction with temozolomide after maximal safe resection and completion of radiation therapy in patients with newly diagnosed GBM.”

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Xtandi Granted Priority Review for Prostate Cancer Treatment

Excerpt:

“The Food and Drug Administration granted Xtandi (enzalutamide) a priority review to a supplemental new drug application for the treatment of patients with nonmetastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer, according to the companies developing the drug, Pfizer and Astellas.

“The sNDA is based on data from the phase 3 PROSPER trial in which the combination of Xtandi and androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) reduced the risk of metastases or death by 71 percent compared with ADT alone for patients with nonmetastatic CRPC. In the double-blind study, the median metastasis-free survival (MFS) was 36.6 months with Xtandi plus ADT versus 14.7 months with ADT alone.”

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Tecentriq Combo Success Boosts Roche in Lung Cancer

Excerpt:

“A combination of Roche AG’s immunotherapy Tecentriq with two older cancer drugs bested chemotherapy in extending progression-free survival (PFS) among previously untreated patients with squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), the Swiss pharma announced March 20.

“Results from the Phase 3 study, known as IMpower 131, could position Tecentriq as the first checkpoint inhibitor to market for first-line treatment of squamous NSCLC, a subset that accounts for 25% to 30%of all NSCLC cases.

“Roche only disclosed topline results for the combination regimen’s effect on PFS. At this point, no benefit in overall survival (OS) between the treatment and control groups was reported, but the study will continue to allow for further observation.”

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No Benefit of PD-1/PD-L1 Inhibitors in Metastatic EGFR Mutated Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Excerpt:

“Immune checkpoint inhibitors have revolutionized the treatment of metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In patients progressing on first-line therapy, immunotherapy with the PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors pembrolizumab, nivolumab, and atezolizumab has become standard second-line therapy. While these agents are associated with durable responses and long-term improvements in overall survival (OS), only a small proportion of patients respond to treatment. Relatively little is known about the factors that predispose patients to response on checkpoint inhibitors, and there is an unmet need for improved patient selection criteria.”

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Researchers Create a Drug to Extend the Lives of Men with Prostate Cancer

Excerpt:

“Fifteen years ago, Michael Jung was already an eminent scientist when his wife asked him a question that would change his career, and extend the lives of many men with a particularly lethal form of prostate cancer.

” ‘When I turned 55—I’m now 70—my wife, Alice, said to me, “What do you want to do for the rest of your life, more of the same?” ‘ recalled Jung, a UCLA distinguished professor of chemistry and biochemistry. ‘I said that didn’t sound like such a bad idea until you put it that way.’ ”

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