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ASCO Reports on Progress Against Cancer

By Lisa Schulmeister, MN, RN, FAAN
Each year, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) publishes a report on progress against cancer. The 2018 report, titled Clinical Advances 2018, highlights current trends and future directions in cancer practice and research. The report was developed by 20 experts in oncology subspecialties, cancer prevention, quality of care, health disparities, and tumor biology.

From November 2016 through October 2017, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved 31 new treatments for 16 types of cancer. The FDA approved the first adoptive cell immunotherapy (CAR T-cell therapy), and the first gene therapy for cancer, tisagenlecleucel (Kymriah), for treating recurrent pediatric ALL. The FDA approved 13 new targeted agents, increasing the options for precision medicine.

The ASCO report addresses the need to preserve a patient’s quality of life by avoiding unnecessary treatment and/or by lowering therapy dose or duration. New tools that engage patients in their own care now are available, and have the potential of improving symptom management. The report also notes that a new era of medical research has dawned, in which patients are increasingly involved through the donation of tissue samples and clinical information. However, it’s noted that oncology research is dependent on funding; over the past two years, a decline in federal funding has occurred and this is expected to continue. The report cautions that without this funding, future progress against cancer is less likely to occur.

For more information, read the full ASCO report.
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