Immunotherapy Needs a New Math

Excerpt:

“A group of doctors and other healthcare industry professionals have set out to develop a more efficient tool for assessing the true value of immuno-oncology (I/O) drugs. They note that these drugs often come with high prices that may distract from their advantages over other types of therapy. For example, Kroger Pharmacy is selling the checkpoint inhibitor ipilimumab (Yervoy) for $140 per mg. At the recommended dose of 3 mg/kg for melanoma patients, the total expense can be high. However, ipilimumab is one of the class of I/O drugs that have improved expectations on supportive care costs and survival benefit. The old measures of value may not apply. Therefore, how does one determine whether $140/mg is a fair price for the drug?”

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Targeted Treatment May Be Feasible in Pediatric Brain Tumors

Excerpt:

“Results from a large clinical study showed that testing pediatric brain tumors for genetic abnormalities is feasible and could play a role in guiding patients’ treatment.

“The study, published in Neuro-Oncology, showed that more than half of the samples taken from pediatric brain tumors and analyzed using genomic profiling had genetic irregularities that could influence how the disease was diagnosed or treated with approved drugs or agents being evaluated in clinical trials.”

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Lasers Help Doctors Remove Brain Cancer

Excerpt:

“Lasers can help surgeons rapidly analyse brain cancers and decide how much tissue to remove, a study shows.

“It is a difficult decision as taking too little leads to the cancer coming back, while too much could lead to disability.

“The technique, called SRS microscopy, has been tried on more than 360 patients at the University of Michigan Medical School and Harvard University.”

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Why Doctors May Keep a Patient Awake for Brain Surgery

Excerpt:

“Anthony Munoz has a brain tumor that is not cancerous.

“Neurosurgeon Dr. Jennifer Moliterno, who specializes in brain tumors, is focused on the massive one just above his left temple.

” ‘The more tumor you remove the better outcome the patient has,’ said Moliterno.

“Taking a more aggressive approach like Awake Craniotomy, Dr. Moliterno says, is a growing trend among those experienced, armed with high-tech tools, all done with the patient’s safety in mind.”

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Scientists Identify Key Defect in Brain Tumor Cells

Excerpt:

“In a new study, Yale researchers identified a novel genetic defect that prevents brain tumor cells from repairing damaged DNA. They found that the defect is highly sensitive to an existing FDA-approved drug used to treat ovarian cancer—a discovery that challenges current practice for treatment of brain tumors and other cancers with the same genetic defect, said the scientists.

“The study was published on Feb. 1 by Science Translational Medicine.

“Certain and leukemias have mutations in genes known as IDH1 and IDH2. The mutations render the cancers sensitive to treatment with radiation therapy or chemotherapy, significantly increasing the survival time for patients with the mutations. To better understand this sensitivity, a cross-disciplinary team of researchers led by Yale created models of the mutation in cell cultures.”

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Immunotherapy 2.0 Named Advance of the Year in ASCO’s 12th Annual Cancer Progress Report

Excerpt:

“A growing number of patients with cancer are benefitting from research advances in immunotherapy, leading the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) to name immunotherapy as the Society’s advance of the year for a second year in a row. Released today, this year’s report, Clinical Cancer Advances 2017: ASCO’s Annual Report on Progress Against Cancer highlights the expanding role of immunotherapy. Evolving research findings are providing new insights on how to get the optimal results from these relatively new treatments.”

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Press Release: Sheri Sobrato Brisson and Eric Brisson Join Cancer Commons to Find Better Treatment Options for Children with Brain Cancer

Sheri Sobrato Brisson (Photo by Irene Searles for InMenlo.com; used
with permission)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Los Altos, California – January 25, 2017 – Cancer Commons, a nonprofit network of physicians, scientists and patients dedicated to helping each patient achieve the best possible outcome, announces the launch of a new program to identify personalized treatment options for children with brain cancer. The program is funded by a generous lead gift from Sheri Sobrato Brisson, a pediatric brain tumor survivor and advocate for children with serious illness, and her husband Eric Brisson.

“We are motivated to help children with brain cancer by giving their physicians and families access to the best treatment plans,” shares Sheri Sobrato Brisson. “Diagnosis is a frightening time, and patients and their families need help to quickly sort through vast, confusing amounts of information to assure them that they are making the best possible choices.” Continue reading…


A New Prognostic Classification May Help Clinical Decision-Making in Glioblastoma

Excerpt:

“New research shows that taking molecular variables into account will improve the prognostic classification of the lethal brain cancer called glioblastoma (GBM).

“The study was led by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James).

“Published in the journal JAMA Oncology, the study found that adding significant molecular biomarkers to the existing GBM classification system improves the prognostic classification of GBM patients who have been treated with radiation and the drug temozolomide.”

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How Precision Medicine Could Be A Lifesaver For Kids With Brain Cancer

Excerpt:

“A team of Dana-Farber scientists has released new research with an important message about precision medicine: Sequencing the genes of brain tumors in kids could point to treatments that target their genetic abnormalities and therefore have the best chance of being effective. At least one of those drugs is already on the market, Novartis’ Tafinlar (dabrafenib), approved by the FDA to treat other types of cancer but still readily available to pediatric oncologists who may want to try it in their patients.”

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