February 4, 2016
Today marks the release of Clinical Cancer Advances 2016: ASCO's Annual Report on Progress Against Cancer. Now in its 11th year of publication, this report is the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s independent review of the major advances in clinical cancer research and care, as well as emerging trends in the field.
For more than 30 years, Conquer Cancer Foundation (CCF) donors have helped launch the research careers of promising young investigators, laying the groundwork for decades of cancer advances. CCF donors invested in these researchers early in their careers and it is paying off in the form of new cancer treatments and advances as described in the report.
Many past CCF grantees appear in the pages of Clinical Cancer Advances 2016, with these six appearing as lead authors in key studies:
- 2008 Career Development Award recipient Dr. Gregory Armstrong (page 36) conducted an analysis of 34,000 childhood cancer survivors and found that cancer cure rates have increased, along with decreases in deaths from complications of cancer treatment.
- 2008 Career Development Award recipient Dr. Dung Le (page 15 and 17) found that certain tumors with a genetic abnormality called mismatch repair deficiency are susceptible to PD-1 immunotherapy, opening the possibility for a new treatment option for patients with advanced cancer who have tumors with mismatch repair deficiency.
- 2008 Young Investigator Award recipient Dr. Joyce Liu (page 28) led a study that found adding an angiogenesis inhibitor (cediranib) to a PARP inhibitor (olaparib) delays disease progression of recurrent serous ovarian cancer for eight months longer than the PARP inhibitor olaparib alone.
- 2013 Young Investigator Award recipient Dr. Michael Postow (page 10) led the first in human study (comparing PD-1 inhibitor (nivolumab) and CTLA-4 inhibitor (ipilimumab) versus ipilimumab CTLA-4 inhibitor alone) to demonstrate the proof of principle that novel combination immune strategies are the most important approach for improving outcomes and survival in patients with advanced melanoma.
- 2006 Young Investigator Award recipient Dr. Tanguy Seiwert (page 14) led a trial where 25% of patients with head and neck cancer who received the PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor pembrolizumab experienced tumor shrinkage. In contrast, the reported response rate to cetuximab (the current standard) was less than 13% in prior clinical trials.
- 1998 Young Investigator Award recipient Dr. Steven Treon (page 27) found that 90 percent of patients with previously treated Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia (WM) – a rare, slow-growing type of lymphoma – responded to Ibrutinib, and the two-year survival rate exceeded 95%. These findings led to FDA approval of Ibrutinib for WM in January 2015.
As 2008 CDA recipient Dr. Armstrong puts it, “The Conquer Cancer Foundation CDA was my first grant and gave me the money to do studies which I could not have done otherwise.” The advances illustrated in this report are a testament to the significant progress being made against cancer. Read the full report.