Cancer Commons founder Marty Tenenbaum wrote a letter to the editor that has now been published in The Economist. His piece discusses the importance of using data to accelerate improvement of cancer treatment. From the letter:
“The oncology drug pipeline is full of promising immunotherapies and targeted treatments (Technology Quarterly on cancer, September 16th). Unfortunately, no one knows the optimal way to use them. Doctors and patients alike struggle with conflicting expert opinions and the information overload. Moreover, a cure will probably involve intelligent combinations of remedies, and there are far more plausible regimens than there are patients available to test them in clinical trials. Treatments, outcomes and quality of life vary widely across institutions, falling off sharply from elite cancer centres to rural, disadvantaged and third-world communities. Continue reading…
In the PMWC 2017 discussion, Dr. Tenenbaum focused on the question: When faced with certain death, is it acceptable to accept less than 100% proven safety and efficacy? Patients with glioblastoma and certain other cancers with dire prognoses do not have the time to wait for new treatments to be fully approved by the FDA. Is it time to add ‘conditional approval’ as an additional pathway to approval for these patients? In the session, he described a plan that will be proposed by which the FDA could “conditionally approve” a treatment that has been proven safe in a clinical trial(s) with at least 25 patients, and has demonstrated biologic activity. Therefore, this treatment could not be denied by insurance as being “experimental.”
In a recent Xconomy article on cancer DNA testing, Cancer Commons medical director Kevin Knopf shares his perspective:
“To help all patients we think an open-source database has the most utility,” says Knopf. Instead of current tests that list a patient’s mutations and potential drugs to use, a report should rank therapies the way online travel sites rank best options.
New personalized medicine publication Genome features Cancer Commons in its latest issue. The article highlights Cancer Commons’ mission, with supporting remarks from Founder Marty Tenenbaum, PhD, and Executive Director William Wong, PhD.
From the article:
“[Cancer Commons is] the very model of personalized medicine, a way for cancer patients to have their unique challenges analyzed against the largest data set possible and be shown the most relevant data to their individual case. This is important for patients who often feel like they are adrift once they’re diagnosed, Tenenbaum says.”