Emma Shtivelman, PhD Cancer Commons Chief Scientist

  •   Emma Shtivelman, PhD

    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.”

    Go to full article published by The New York Times on Mar 23, 2018.

    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.

  •   Emma Shtivelman, PhD

    Excerpt:

    “The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which administers the federal Medicare insurance program, will begin covering FDA-approved diagnostic tests that scan tumors for a range of genetic mutations. The news is a boost for companies like Foundation Medicine and Thermo Fisher Scientific, who are among the few firms with such tests on the market.

    “Late Friday, the CMS said that, going forward, it will start to reimburse for tests that use DNA sequencing technology to map the tumors of patients with advanced cancers once approved by the FDA. Two of the already-approved tests fitting this description are FoundationOne CDx, from Cambridge, MA-based Foundation, and Oncomine Dx Target Test, from Waltham, MA-based Thermo Fisher Scientific (NYSE: TMO). FoundationOne CDx looks for 324 cancer-related alterations in patients’ DNA. Foundation amasses a report based on the results and sends it to doctors, who use the data to suggest possible treatments. Oncomine detects 23 genetic alterations associated with non-small cell lung cancer.”

    Go to full article published by Xconomy on Mar 19, 2018.

    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.

  •   Emma Shtivelman, PhD

    Excerpt:

    “The federal government is threatening to limit treatment options for doctors fighting cancer. A regulatory decision due Wednesday from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services could undermine the care delivered to the more than 1.6 million Americans who are diagnosed with cancer each year.”

    Go to full article published by The Wall Street Journal on Feb 25, 2018.

    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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    New Developments in Melanoma Treatment

    Emma Shtivelman, PhD

    Neoadjuvant (before-surgery) treatments for resectable melanoma Neoadjuvant treatments are the mainstay in the care of patients with breast, colon, and other cancers, but have not traditionally been used in melanoma. This has changed now, with the publication of a report showing that patients with resectable stage III or IV BRAF-mutant melanoma benefit from treatment with the BRAF/MEK inhibitor drugs dabrafenib and trametinib prior to… Read more »

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    Targetable Mutations in NSCLC: More Testing Needed!

    Emma Shtivelman, PhD

    Diagnosis of adenocarcinoma of the lung, a major subtype of non-small lung cancer (NSCLC), nowadays triggers mandatory testing of tumor tissue for alterations in four genes: EGFR, ALK, ROS1, and more recently, BRAF. If present, these alterations predict sensitivity to specific targeted drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that work better and often longer than standard chemotherapy, and are better… Read more »

  •   Emma Shtivelman, PhD

    Excerpt:

    “Clinical trials of new anti-cancer therapies have often excluded patients whose disease has spread to the brain or central nervous system (CNS) or, if such patients were allowed on trial, trials have often failed to clearly capture information on the drug’s effect in the brain. Today new guidelines from an international, multidisciplinary group published in the journal Lancet Oncology describe how to most appropriately address cancer patients with CNS involvement within clinical trials of anti-cancer drugs.”

    Go to full article published by ScienceDaily on Dec 30, 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.

  •   Emma Shtivelman, PhD

    Excerpt:

    “When 29-year-old Carly Bastiansen was diagnosed in January 2016 with advanced pancreatic cancer, doctors told her a clinical trial was her best shot at slowing the notoriously quick-killing and hard-to-treat disease. She found one that appeared promising and went through the screening process. But the trial would not accept her.

    “ ‘Participating in a clinical trial is really my only chance at living longer,’ Bastiansen, a children’s librarian in Baltimore, said this fall as she was growing weaker. ‘To have had that option taken off the table was devastating.’ ”

    Go to full article published by The Washington Post on Dec 17, 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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    A Gut Feeling: Bacteria in Your Gut May Affect Cancer Treatment

    Emma Shtivelman, PhD

    The human gut contains hundreds of species bacteria, which are known to contribute to various bodily functions (such as digestion, of course!) but they also shape our immune system. Now, recent research has revealed how our microbiomes (the abundant bacteria living in our bodies) may affect the efficacy of immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) in cancer treatment. How it started: about two years ago, an… Read more »

  •   Emma Shtivelman, PhD

    Excerpt:

    “U.S. regulators have approved a first-of-a-kind test that looks for mutations in hundreds of cancer genes at once, giving a more complete picture of what’s driving a patient’s tumor and aiding efforts to match treatments to those flaws.

    “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Foundation Medicine’s test for patients with advanced or widely spread cancers, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed covering it.

    “The dual decisions, announced late Thursday, will make tumor-gene profiling available to far more cancer patients than the few who get it now and will lead more insurers to cover it.”

    Go to full article by Houston Chronicle on Dec 2, 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.

  •   Emma Shtivelman, PhD

    Excerpt:

    “The Food and Drug Administration wants to help patients get faster access to promising cancer treatments.

    “The agency is preparing proposals that would expand an accelerated-approval program for lifesaving medications, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told House lawmakers on Thursday.

    “Drugmakers can seek rapid conditional approval for treatments for cancer or other serious diseases based on evidence that a drug is likely to extend patient survival. Later trials once such a drug is on the market are necessary to prove the survival benefit.”

    Go to full article published by Bloomberg on Nov 30, 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.