Friday, June 28, 2013

No More Chemo?

Time Magazine has a piece in this week's issue called "No More Chemo: Doctors Say It's Not So Far-Fetched." The focus is on targeted, molecular-based therapies, and the job they do of focusing on cancer cells instead of healthy cells. If you've been keeping up with things, none of this is news. Still, it's about as good an introduction to the current and future state of cancer treatment as you'll find online.

The article was prompted by another Time article from the week before, "New Drug May Be Best Treatment for Leukemia Yet," which focused on the use of Ibrutinib. This earlier article looks at a New England Journal of Medicine piece that reported on Ibrutinib's success with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL), a slower-growing version on leukemia. Of course, Ibrutinib is also being tested in a bunch of other blood cancers, including Follicular Lymphoma.

The more recent article focuses on cancer in general, and the ways shotgun-style approaches to treatment are on their way out (though certainly still around -- just not necessarily as a first option anymore).

I like the way Dr. George Demetri from Dana-Farber put it: "The field is moving toward using the right drugs at the right time in the right patients."

As I said, nothing earth-shattering of you've been following cancer developments, but it's a good introduction to pass on to anyone who hasn't been.

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