The personalisation of cancer treatments is leading to better outcomes for patients

8 months ago Comments Off on The personalisation of cancer treatments is leading to better outcomes for patients

THE past five years have seen a torrent of innovation in the treatment of cancer. More than 70 new drugs have come to market, and for some of these describing their consequences as revolutionary is not hyperbole—at least for those patients lucky enough to respond to them. A diagnosis of advanced melanoma, for example, was once tantamount to a death warrant. Median life expectancy after such news was six to nine months. But recently developed “immuno-oncology” drugs, which exploit a patient’s immune system to fight his tumours, are so effective that, in around a fifth of cases, there is real debate among experts as to whether the patient has actually been cured.

“Cure” is not a word much used by oncologists. The best they normally talk of is “remission”. This sort of upbeat news is reinvigorating the study of cancer. And it is not the only thing to do so. As they are showing at this year’s meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), which is taking place in Chicago at the moment, the subject’s practitioners have a spring in their step. Not only do they have new drugs to deploy, they are also developing better ways…Continue reading
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