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    EGFR-mutant NSCLC: Choice of First-Line Treatment May Get More Complicated

    Emma Shtivelman, PhD

    Medical guidelines for treatment of newly diagnosed non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) mandate upfront testing of tumor tissue for mutations in the EGFR gene (as well as ALK and ROS gene translocation). EGFR mutations are found in 10 to 15% of white patients, but in patients of East Asian origin such mutations are in encountered in approximately 48%. However, with new data and drugs… Read more »

  •   Emma Shtivelman, PhD

    Excerpt:

    “Patients who choose to receive alternative therapy as treatment for curable cancers instead of conventional cancer treatment have a higher risk of death, according to researchers from the Cancer Outcomes, Public Policy and Effectiveness Research (COPPER) Center at Yale School of Medicine and Yale Cancer Center. The findings were reported online by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

    “There is increasing interest by  and families in pursuing alternative medicine as opposed to conventional  treatment. This trend has created a difficult situation for patients and providers. Although it is widely believed that conventional cancer treatment will provide the greatest chance at cure, there is limited research evaluating the effectiveness of alternative medicine for cancer.”

    Go to full article published by Medical Xpress on Aug 10, 2017.

    If you’re wondering whether this story applies to your own cancer case or a loved one’s, we invite you to get support from Cancer Commons.

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    Reengineering Immune System Cells to Treat Glioblastoma

    Emma Shtivelman, PhD

    Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a serious diagnosis. The search for better treatments is ongoing, but with little to show since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of the chemotherapy drug temozolomide with concurrent radiation 12 years ago, based on data showing modest improvement in patients’ survival. By now, a new cancer treatment approach known as CAR T-cell therapy is famous… Read more »

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    ASCO 2017: Breast Cancer Treatment News

    Emma Shtivelman, PhD

    Last month, the annual American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting took place in Chicago. Thousands of oncologists, patients, and journalists gathered to learn about the most recent developments in cancer research and treatment. Here are some breast cancer highlights from the meeting: Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is considered more responsive to treatment with immune checkpoint drugs than any other type of breast cancer.… Read more »

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    Clinical Trials Test Treatments for High-Grade Brain Tumors

    Emma Shtivelman, PhD

    With a few exceptions, glioblastoma (GBM) remains largely incurable, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved few treatments for the disease. Surgery (when feasible), radiation, and temozolomide are used in most patients. But even if a newly diagnosed tumor can be surgically excised, recurrences are too common. In this blog post, I simply list some of the new treatments available in… Read more »

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    In Metastatic Breast Cancer Treatment, Not All CDK Inhibitors Are Equal

    Emma Shtivelman, PhD

    Doctors prescribe drugs known as CDK inhibitors to treat some women with estrogen-receptor-positive (ER+) metastatic breast cancer. Research into these drugs is ongoing, and new, promising CDK inhibitor options are on the horizon. Here, I address the current outlook for CDK inhibitors in ER+ breast cancer. First, some background: ER+ breast cancers comprise about 70% of all breast cancers. The name reflects the fact… Read more »

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    War of the Checkpoint Inhibitors: Anti-PD-1 Drugs Move into First-Line Treatment in NSCLC

    Emma Shtivelman, PhD

    Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved two anti-PD-1 checkpoint inhibitors, a type of immunotherapy, for treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in patients whose cancer has progressed after first-line treatment with chemotherapy. Now, the manufacturers of both drugs, pembrolizumab (made by Merck) and nivolumab (made by Bristol-Myers Squibb; BMS) are intent on expanding the indications for use of their… Read more »

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    Melanoma: New Drugs and New Challenges (Part 2 of 2)

    Emma Shtivelman, PhD

    As always, the more new treatments become available in melanoma, the more new challenges arise. With eight new drugs approved for melanoma in the last five years, oncologists may sometimes face the difficult choice of what drugs to choose for a patient’s first-line treatment. Immune checkpoint drugs sometimes cause serious side effects, but progress is being made on how to treat these and also how to treat patients with pre-existing autoimmune conditions. New approaches are needed in efforts to prevent recurrence of melanomas diagnosed at earlier stages of disease progression.

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    Melanoma: New Drugs and New Challenges (Part 1 of 2)

    Emma Shtivelman, PhD

    New targeted and immunotherapy drugs have changed the diagnosis of metastatic melanoma from a death sentence into a disease that can potentially be managed and even cured. Nevertheless, these new drugs do not work in all patients, or they may stop working after a transient response. This post (part one of two) will describe ongoing efforts to find drug combinations with higher efficacy than single drugs and decipher the mechanisms underlying drug resistance.

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    New Research on Triple Negative Breast Cancer Emerges at ASCO 2016

    Emma Shtivelman, PhD

    The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting of 2016 is behind us, but oncologists, patients, and journalists are still analyzing the most interesting presentations made there. Below, we describe some of the more prominent results in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), both promising and disappointing.