An Introduction from Dr Gupta, VP of Oncology at Astra Zeneca.
[Editor's Note: I am not a Doctor so I am going to try to interpret the discussion in layman's terms. Hopefully i won't make too many errors...]
The Cancer Burden is growing globally. Approximately 14M deaths per year
Something to keep in mind: Immuno therapy is an administration of drugs that don’t treat the cancer itself. What they do is awaken the host immune response which then attacks the cancer.
This means that people with immune system diseases, such as Lupus. These treatments can exacerbate their symptoms.
The biology of Tumors is better understood. That is allowing newer therapies to be developed.
New paradigms in cancer care are enabling patients to live for extended periods – without requiring drugs.
Developments in HIV treatment has evolved in the last 5 years to the point where it is now an incurable chronic condition – but is no longer a terminal condition.
Metastatic Melanoma: Combined therapies are dramatically increasing the survival rate.
Combinations of therapies are the wave of the future. This plays well with Personalized medicine where our genome impacts the effectiveness of certain drugs. This means that the industry is not looking for a single wonder drug. They instead need a portfolio of drugs to create a treament cocktail.
How cancer works:
- Promote mutation
- Avoid detection
- Invade Tissue
- Processing nutrients
- Evade Death
- Grow uncontrollably
So cancer is basically our immune processes running out of control. Our immune system should turn on and off as needed. Cancer cells turn things on their head.
So some treatments try to re-awaken the normal responses in the human cells and therefore get the cancer cells to return to a normal response profile. ie. They live, grow, die. instead of just live, grow, spread.
The body has a hierarchical immune response system.
CTLA-4 / PD-L1 – PD1 drugs can amplofy response against tumor that is more effective in combination than on their own.
There are good and bad T-Cells. If you can suppress the bad T-cells you can improve the effectiveness of the good T-Cells
We will see more sophisticated cocktails of drugs targeted to specific individuals.
- faster, deeper tumor response
- longer tumor growth control
- delay or prevent relapses
The genome and cancer treatment
It seems obvious that understanding our genome will be an essential step in fighting cancer. This will allow drugs to be selected from a large portfolio of cancer-fighting drugs that are tuned to an individual patient. We have already learned that drugs work differently in different patients based on their genome.
[Note: I am also posting this to my Medyear.com account and publishing to a public chronicle - indicated by the use of ##AIDS hashtag.]
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