What Are the Latest Advances in Cancer Treatment?

Read Transcript

We are making strides against cancer not enough of course but you've seen death rates from cancer drop by 1% per year for the last 10 years after going steady up before that, but we have a lot of work to do. What is happening in the basic science of cancer is breath taking. We really understand at the most detailed level what causes cells to grow out of control.

The challenge is to take that information and change it as quickly as possible into new targeted therapeutics. You can see the leading edge of that already happening, take drugs like Crizotinib, just to approved by the FDA in fairly record time to treat people with lung cancer who previously had essentially no effective therapies.

It only works for people who have this rearrangement of a particular gene called ALK but if you're one of those you are going to have very likely dramatic response. Some of the things that are happening with melanoma and likewise by knowing the [xx] gene is mutated and melanoma we have a drug that goes after that specifically targets the malignant cells.

That's where need to go, but I think that nobody would imagine that that single drug therapy for the cancer is the future answer. It's going to be combinations just like we do for HIV/AIDS, and getting to that end point is particularly challenging.