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Drugs make headway against lung, breast and prostate cancers

The Japan Times

CHICAGO - Newer drugs are substantially improving the chances of survival for some people with hard-to-treat forms of lung, breast and prostate cancer, doctors reported at the world's largest cancer conference. Among those who have benefited is Roszell Mack Jr., who at age 87 is still able to work at a Lexington, Kentucky, horse farm, nine years after being diagnosed with lung cancer that had spread to his bones and lymph nodes. "I go in every day, I'm the first one there," said Mack, who helped test Merck's Keytruda, a therapy that helps the immune system identify and fight cancer. "I'm feeling well and I have a good quality of life." The downside: Many of these drugs cost $100,000 or more a year, although what patients pay out of pocket varies depending on insurance, income and other criteria.


Treatment extends life for some with advanced prostate cancer

The Japan Times

CHICAGO – Adding a new anti-hormonal drug to the standard treatment for advanced prostate cancer has been shown to reduce the risk of dying by almost 40 percent, according to two studies published Saturday. The drug, abiraterone, is sold by Janssen Pharmaceuticals under the brand name Zytiga. According to one study, when combined with prednisone, which is typically given to men with metastatic prostate cancer, abiraterone reduced the risk of dying by 38 percent. It also doubled the amount of time before the cancer worsened -- from 14.8 to 33 months -- said the findings released at the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting. The clinical trial included 1,200 patients in 34 countries and ran from February 2013 to December 2014.


The race to create a new class of ovarian cancer drugs heats up

PBS NewsHour

A promising new class of drugs is proving powerful in the fight against ovarian cancer. The race to create the next potent ovarian cancer drug is coming to a head. In recent days, the researchers behind three PARP drug contenders threw down preliminary data during the European Society for Medical Oncology conference in Denmark. Massachusetts-based Tesaro was the clear front-runner with its experimental once-a-day ovarian cancer pill, niraparib. Its results built upon exciting data it released in June -- showing that its drug can increase the window of time in which a woman's cancer doesn't get worse.


Prostate cancer treatment 'could help more patients'

BBC News

One of the largest clinical trials for prostate cancer has given "powerful results", say UK researchers. A drug for treating prostate cancer that has spread was found to save lives when offered earlier, a study found. The trial looked at abiraterone as an additional treatment in patients with prostate cancer who were about to start long-term hormone therapy. Abiraterone improved survival, according to results published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Prof Nicholas James, from the University of Birmingham, who led the research, said: "These are the most powerful results I've seen from a prostate cancer trial - it's a once-in-a-career feeling.


With cancer, it's not necessarily where it starts but how it starts

Los Angeles Times

Ever since 1761, when the Italian physician Giovanni Battista Morgagni published his detailed findings from 700 autopsies, cancers have been inextricably linked with the organs they inhabit. Over the next 250 years, physicians would learn that even after a tumor had been fully excised from one organ, some remnant of the malignancy could spread to other organs through fluids like blood and lymph. With the advent of microscopes in the late 19th century, they would begin to appreciate tumors' commonalities and differences in cellular detail. And with the decoding of the human genome, they would begin to discern the roles that DNA mutations play in helping cancers begin, grow and spread. Through it all, doctors have organized their notions of cancer according to that fundamental principle of real estate: location, location, location.