Welcome Back: A Dynamic and Innovative Field Deserves an Innovative Publication

By E. Roy Berger, MD, FACP
Published: Monday, Aug 16, 2010

Welcome Back

A Dynamic and Innovative Field Deserves an Innovative Publication

You’ll notice we’ve made a few changes to the layout and design in our second issue that we think will make Oncology & Biotech News quicker and easier to read. We appreciate the many helpful suggestions and comments sent in by readers based on their impressions of the first issue of Oncology & Biotech News. We have incorporated some of these and will continue to solicit feedback as we move forward.

This issue features a strong lineup of cutting-edge information for busy oncology professionals who need to stay up to date with the latest news from the worlds of research, finance, public policy, patient education, and academia. Turn to page 5 to learn more about a National Prostate Cancer Coalition program designed to educate men with prostate cancer about the benefits of enrolling in a clinical trial. Too many patients are unaware of the importance of trials in discovering new treatments and improving existing therapies. Programs such as this one will also help patients understand that enrolling in a clinical trial ensures they receive the best care possible, in ideal settings, from some of the most highly trained and qualified cancer

professionals in the industry.

You will also find an article I penned, which reviews novel immunotherapy approaches to metastatic prostate cancer, describing the use of immunotherapy as a biologic approach to cancer therapy that represents “a paradigm shiftin oncology.” I also discuss key issues in the application of immunotherapy to prostate cancer treatment and review the biochemical characteristics of sipuleucel-T, a novel active immunotherapy agent designed to stimulate an effective immune response against prostate cancer by taking the patient’s own antigen-producing cells and incubating them with a recombinant protein that contains acid phosphotase,a prostatespecific protein. The process theoretically leads to stronger immune stimulation in the patient. Read the article to learn more about results from already completed trials of sipuleucel-T, as well as ongoing clinical investigations.

Turn to “Politics & Policy” for coverage of an issue some of your patients may already be asking  you about: legislation recently introduced in more than half a dozen states that would mandate vaccinating middle-school girls against HPV. Following a brief rundown of clinical results for this vaccine, you’ll find a state-by-state recap of legislation and current status. An accompanying piece discusses the debate surrounding this sensitive topic.

The “Bio Buzz” feature is also back in this issue. This month, John Zoidis, MD, discusses how the so-far unimpressive results from trials investigating the use of platinum-based regimens for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer may present opportunities for agents with a different mechanism of action. Enter bevacizumab, a recombinant humanized antibody to vascular endothelial growth factor that has proven effective against other forms of cancer. Dr. Zoidis reviews the results of the ECOG Study E4599, which demonstrate that the addition of bevacizumab to paclitaxel plus carboplatin confers a “significant survival benefit,” the first treatment in more than a decade to produce such results in this patient population.

A new feature we have incorporated this month is “The Educated Patient,” which offers a collection of reliable online patient education websites, news, and information. You can confidently direct your patients to these resources to supplement the information you have already provided. Let us know if these websites prove useful to you in your practice. We would also welcome your suggestions for sites and online resources we can include in future issues of Oncology & Biotech News.

The fields of oncology and biotechnology are entering a period of rapid growth and transformation. New discoveries and innovations are delivering treatments and results that were thought to be impossible a decade ago. New breakthroughs are being made every day, with each new answer showing the way to new and intriguing avenues of research and investigation.

It is an exciting time for physicians, researchers, and allied healthcare professionals. We are honored to be apart of the process. Thank you for reading.


E. Roy Berger, MD

Physician Editor

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