A new study mentioned in a recent New York Times article reveals that “the best strategy is to hit tumors with two or more targeted cancer therapies at once.”
Shirley Wang writes in today’s Wall Street Journal that “scientists studying a four herb combination discovered some 1,800 years ago by Chinese herbalists have found that the substance enhances the effectiveness of chemotherapy in patients with colon cancer.
The AACR debuted at its annual conference today an informative video about the accomplishments and possibilities of cancer research. Check it out.
CNBC’s Mike Huckman looks back at pharma’s biggest decade, and also looks ahead at what’s to come in today’s segment “Big Pharma’s Big Decade.” UCSF’s Chancellor Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann is featured in the program. Dr. Desmond-Hellmann who brought the world’s anti-cancer blockbuster drugs to market says what she’s “most proud of is that we changed the way people think about cancer.”
2010 could be a year of firsts– the first therapeutic vaccine for prostate cancer, first Lupus drug, first once a week drug to treat diabetes, and the first new flu vaccine technology since the 1950’s.
According to Dr. Desmond-Hellmann, “what is tremendous is how there is literally an explosion of biology – it should be a golden era.” She also believes that there could be a significant break-through in Alzheimer’s disease on the horizon. Drugs today just treat the symptoms but don’t slow the progression.
Dr. Desmond-Hellmann concludes by saying: “If there was a genuine breakthrough in Alzheimer’s we’re talking about the kinds of medicines that could be the biggest products in the world… bigger than Lipitor and Avastin… from a business perspective this could be huge.”
Watch the video here.
UCSF’s Elizabeth Blackburn joins an elite group of women scientists that has received the Nobel Prize in Medicine. Her award brings the number of female recipients to 10, out of a total of 195 scientists who have received the award since it was established in 1901. Watch the video of today’s Nobel press conference:
Dr. Laura Esserman, director of UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Breast Care Center is spearheading the development of a clinical trials model designed to accelerate and improve the efficiency with which experimental breast cancer therapies are assessed. The strategy, which involves the use of molecular markers and MRI, utilizes “adaptive design,” in which drugs are assessed over the course of months – rather than decades – and the information used in real time to direct the course of a trial.
The series of studies are known as I-SPY (investigation of serial studies to predict therapeutic response with imaging and molecular analysis) and are being carried out in patients with locally advanced i.e., aggressive – breast cancer. The goals of I-SPY are to establish a clinical trials model that supports the identification of drugs targeting the molecular profiles of aggressive cancers, and to reduce the duration of the drug-assessment process from the current 15 to 20 years down to a few years.
Dr. Esserman’s team presents several findings at ASCO today. One provocative finding shows that large, locally advanced forms of breast cancer often emerge between regular mammogram exams. These “interval” cancers present an important opportunity for doctors and patients to take advantage of neoadjuvant therapies in advance of surgery, with the hope they would be responsive. The other finding is that using molecular markers, UCSF researchers identified a subset of patients who do well regardless of how they respond to neoadjuvant treatment. They also identified a subset with poor prognosis for whom response to neoadjuvant therapy is a good predictor of long term outcome.
Read the press release:
Susan Desmond-Hellmann, one of FORTUNE’s Most Powerful Women in Business, will become the first woman to serve as UCSF chancellor. The appointment, unanimously approved by the UC Board of Regents today, takes effect August 3, 2009.
Desmond-Hellmann, 51, brings a deep clinical, research, and executive leadership background and commitment to high-quality patient care to the position of UCSF chancellor. She is a board-certified physician in internal medicine and medical oncology who has dedicated much of her career to cancer research. She was with South San Francisco-based Genentech for 14 years – as clinical scientist, chief medical officer, executive vice president and president – where she has overseen successful trials for therapeutic drugs, including Herceptin, Avastin and Rituxan, targeting a range of cancers and other diseases. Says Desmond-Hellman:
I began my career at UCSF, and my heart has never left it..My life’s work has been focused on making a difference for patients, and I cannot think of a better place than UCSF to carry that work forward. As the health needs of the world continue to change, UCSF will continue to play a pivotal role in developing solutions through its research, teaching and clinical care across all the health disciplines.