Something happened, actually a lot. Until a handful of years ago we didn't fully believe that it would really happen. Yet today it is there, that you can see. He sees himself around us with loved ones with cancer, who we would have thought were at the end of their life, and instead they live, live, live. It can be seen with the number of healed growing exponentially.
World Cancer Day, Aiom Foundation: "Here's what chronic and cured patients need"
by Irma D'Aria
With an army of Italians who live years and years (many years) after having encountered cancer, perhaps continuing to be treated, but also, often, working, starting a family, trying to be happy. It can be seen when a frugal and severe man like Francesco Perrone says, in no uncertain terms: "Today there is a therapeutic option for all types of cancer" (the president-elect of Aiom does so in the interview you can find here).
So we too, who have always been cautious, and who still are thinking of the many Italians who die of cancer every year anyway (181,330 in 2021), set off for Chicago with the hope that the big bad is really going to happen, slowly and at very high costs , humans above all, becoming an evil. More and more treatable, maybe even curable.
7000 reasons to hope
The annual assembly of the global oncology elite opens in Chicago from 2 to 6 June. Forty thousand attendees, all gathered on the shores of Lake Michigan in a convention center that looks like a beehive; so big that some people even wear skates to go from one classroom to another. It couldn't be smaller given that in four days 7000 searches are presented, dozens of masterful lectures are listened to that mark the guidelines, indicate what will happen.
And this year it is the title of the Congress itself that writes the direction that oncology will take in the coming years. "Partnering with Patients. The Cornerstone of Cancer Care and Research". Because if it is true that today genetics and molecular biology have changed the natural history of many types of cancer and that the current revolution, that of therapies targeting agents involved in carcinogenesis, is the main road for research, the future will have to be written together with the patients. As?
Tumors: 70% of clinical studies measure quality of life
by Irma D'Aria
The Copernican Revolution
Let's look at the scenario: Cancer has become "the cancers". We no longer try to find therapies for neoplasms that affect different organs, but for groups of neoplasms characterized by one or more genetic variations responsible (in part) for the disease. And so we have seen the number of "cancers" proliferate, hand in hand with the number of genes involved.
Tumors, one patient out of two has a mutation for which drugs exist
by Letizia Gabaglio
No more breast cancer, for example, but different tumors characterized by different genes involved in the genesis of the tumor; but then, sometimes, the same genes are involved in tumors located in other sites (such as BRCA, involved in the ovary, prostate, and beyond). An ever greater identification of the target that the therapies must hit.
Ovarian cancer day. New treatments, prevention, testimonials. An initiative of Health - integral
And we have written this many times when describing what happened in oncology. Today, however, something has changed again: patients are the cornerstone; individuation is no longer just genetic individuation, but of the whole person. The entire life of the patient is at the centre. Clinical research can no longer be done without thinking about the person, how they are when treatment begins, what the therapy offers them, the side effects they suffer, the psychological and social consequences of their condition.
People, not numbers or DNA
Are we really far from the oncology of patient numbers, studies regulated by the strict laws of biostatistics that tell us whether a therapy works or not on selected and standardized groups of patients? Well not really. Those studies are still the basis for deciding what works and what doesn't. You don't run away.
But then... there's a then. There is the real world, that of people, of their health condition, of their very personal biology. Of human diversity which, on this Earth, is the real testing ground for therapies. That they work for some, not for others. Which are tolerable for some, less so for others. That they give back to someone a future, to others they don't.
Cancer, from real-life studies to access to innovative drugs. Here's what you need
by Dario Rubino
Gene hunting is no longer enough
But the scene also changes with respect to the current trend: the spasmodic hunt for the mutated gene, for the pathway that goes wrong and leads to cancer. Which is followed by the hunt for the molecule that can stop degeneration; for one, two, a thousand geniuses at stake. There is no doubt that this is how it is - with molecular biology, large databases, artificial intelligence - that new drugs are found and tested. But, in the same way, Asco, the largest community of oncologists in the world, those who hold all the cards to win the great game of precision oncology, today indicates another route (perhaps to be followed in parallel): the individual, which is not the sum of his genes.
A flash into the future
The bet today is that of an oncology that knows how to combine the rigor and impartiality of the medicine of protocols (the only guarantee, for now, that we don't end up in the hands of charlatans or experts next door), the spasmodic but virtuous hunt to the responsible gene to hit with a targeted molecule (which will become a billionaire) with the clinic capable of treating the sick, just that one, with its very particular biology.
Chicago's 40,000 are called to begin doing so immediately. We will try to tell you about it.