Breast and lung cancer research served as major topics of interest as health care providers from around the state recently gathered for the Florida Hospital Cancer Institute (FHCI) Best of ASCO 2012 in Central Florida. The meeting provided hematologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and other clinicians a comprehensive summary of the information and data presented at the national American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2012 Annual Meeting, the largest conference on cutting-edge research in oncology.
“Florida Hospital Cancer Institute has one of the largest clinical trials programs in Central Florida, participating in more than 100 clinical trials per year. We believe it is essential that oncologists everywhere have access to the latest research data if they are unable to attend the national meeting,” said Dr. Lee Zehngebot, director of clinical research at FHCI. “Our goal is to improve cancer care and prevention through a comprehensive presentation of pivotal data that will keep physicians informed and more knowledgeable in their practice.”
Hundreds of research findings are presented at the national ASCO meeting, but two studies in breast and lung cancer are making headlines.
ADVANCEMENTS IN BREAST CANCER:
A new drug combination to target HER2 positive breast cancer had been deemed a “smart bomb” treatment for patients who have become resistant to other forms of treatment. Research shows that a unique combination of a toxin, a chemotherapy drug too lethal to use on its own, delivered with an anti-body is directly attacking the cancer cells and leaving the healthy cells unharmed. “This approach has not been used before so it’s intriguing doctors because a toxin that should be so bad for the patient is effectively targeting only the
bad cancer cells with few side effects,” said Dr. David Molthrop, FHCI oncologist and breast cancer specialist. “It is giving patients who previously became resistant to treatment a new option and has implications for other forms of cancer down the road.”
ADVANCEMENTS IN lUNG CANCER:
Five years ago, all lung cancers were treated the same with chemotherapy. Now, clinical trials are giving doctors a better understanding of the genetic markers that make up an individual’s tumor, leading to what you may have heard referred to as more “personalized medicine.” The ability to detect genetic mutations in tumors and create a targeted drug therapy specific to that mutation is changing the treatment of lung cancer. Many genetic mutations have been identified for lung cancer. At this year’s ASCO, the ros1 mutation was reported to predict dramatic benefit from a newly approved drug.
“When we are able to use a specialized drug that targets a specific genetic mutation or characteristics in a person’s tumor, that is what we call personalized medicine,” says Dr. Tarek Mekhail, medical director of the FHCI Thoracic Cancer Program. “Ros1 is responding to a newer drug already available to doctors for treating other genetic markers. It will continue to be studied as the testing still needs to be standardized.”
The Best of ASCO also offered a discussion of data pertaining to melanoma, thoracic, kidney, lymphoma, myeloma and prostate research.
Presenters at the Best of ASCO included physicians from the Florida Hospital Cancer Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Memorial Sloan- Kettering Cancer Center, Duke University Medical Center and Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania.
In addition to the patient care benefits, the in-room access means fewer steps for nurses, less time waiting for an available computer, less equipment to carry or push and more time to spend with patients. The close proximity also makes it easier to chart while providing care and easier to share updates with nurses during shift changes. The computer also increases access to patient care protocols and corporate policies and procedures.