Cancer represents one of the world’s most important health care challenges, with more than 14 million new cases each year. Thanks to investment and progress in cancer research, people today are living longer with this disease than ever before.
Since 1992 until this year, there have been a decline in incidence and mortality rates for all types of cancer. In addition to that, the number of people living 5 years or more after a cancer diagnosis is projected to increase 31% by 2026, representing an increase of more than four million survivors in less than a decade and cancer research, helps make progress possible.
This year has been important advances in progress against cancer, such as:
- Advances in molecular diagnostics continue with the most significant achievement made as a result of the TAILORx breast cancer study, demonstrated that as many as 70% of women with hormone receptor–positive, node-negative breast cancer could safely forgo adjuvant chemotherapy based on results from a 21-gene assay.
- Success with targeted therapies, including the introduction of medicines that delay the progression of breast and lung cancers.
- Microbiome research has found specific bacteria possibly associated with risk for certain head and neck cancers.
Immunotherapy advances still growing, expanding to cancers in which there have been few immunotherapy treatment successes to date:
The two main drivers behind this success are checkpoint inhibitors (CPIs) and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells.
Regarding immunotherapy, recent studies confirmed safety and efficacy of CAR T cells in patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia or diffuse large B cell lymphoma. Different strategies to translate the striking success of CAR T cells in B cell malignancies to other hematological and solid cancer types are currently under clinical investigation.
Increased accrual to trials is important for patients, because trials provide opportunity to receive the newest treatments. In addition, patients who participate in clinical trials have other advantages, such as access to probably less expensive therapies, to professional dedicated to the patient’s care, and to care that is strictly directed by a protocol. At the end of the study, the potential benefits of trial participation will be shared by patients, researchers, and future generations.