Sunday, July 12, 2015

We're All in This Together

So here’s the promise.  I’ve written before about circulating tumor cells (CTCs), and blood biopsies, as many of us in the cancer research community continue to see tremendous opportunities.  Currently, the most immediate applications for CTC technology are likely to be the genotyping of cancers for which mutation-targeted therapies are effective.   According to a paper published in Cancer Discovery, Drs. Daniel A. Haber and Victor E. Velculescu hypothesize that these will involve “predominantly the approved indications for non–small cell lung cancer ( EGFR and EML4–ALK mutations) and melanoma (BRAF), as well as upcoming applications for BRAF + EGFR–directed therapies in colorectal cancer and PIK3CA - targeted treatments in breast cancer and other cancers.” Further, “these applications are likely to increase as additional genotype-driven therapies are developed, and though they constitute a small subset of all cancers, broad testing even in cases at relatively low risk is important, given their significant impact on therapeutic choices.”

As a lung cancer survivor and advocate, I appreciate the passion, commitment, and bonds that develop within the cancer advocacy community. Each community – breast cancer, prostate cancer, brain cancer, etc. – is extremely focused.  There is so much support gained from shared experience, and that is so important.  I am a part of it, and have many friends on social media in the #lcsm community.  At the same time, I am excited about the cancer research science that is leading us toward precision medicine.  I was struck recently by a comment from NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, who said “a lung cancer patient may have more in common with a bladder cancer patient than another lung cancer patient”.  Though their cancer is in a different location, they may share the same genetic mutation that caused their cancer. That’s why I see the promise of the CTC research as it relates to ALL cancers, and why Grand View Research predicts this market will reach $2.28 billion by 2020. This is why I continue to promote collaboration, because we truly are “all in this together”.  I am dedicated to supporting cancer research that will find the molecular abnormalities no matter the location of the tumor.  And proud that for over 40 years this has been the commitment of the National Foundation for Cancer Research.