NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia & Cornell Cancer Program: Collaborating for Advances in Research and Patient Care

Laura Bruck
Published: Tuesday, Nov 13, 2012

NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia & Cornell Cancer

As the nation’s largest not-for-profit, nonsectarian hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian provides state-of-the-art care at five major centers and is consistently ranked among the country’s best academic medical institutions by U.S. News & World Report. The hospital’s academic affiliations with Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons are producing groundbreaking advances in oncology research and patient care.

Tarceva and Xalkori: Changing the Thoracic Oncology Landscape Balazs Halmos, MD, section chief of Thoracic Oncology at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, has witnessed dramatic transformations in thoracic oncology from as recently as 5 years ago, when multiple toxic chemotherapy treatments produced only modest benefits. He describes the identification of major genetic mutations in adenocarcinoma as particularly exciting, and cites two FDA-approved nonchemotherapeutic oral agents as especially promising: the EGFR-4 inhibitor erlotinib (Tarceva), approved for treatment of advanced non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and crizotinib (Xalkori), an ALK inhibitor approved for treatment of late-stage ALK-positive lung cancers, and also being investigated for use in other tumor types in which ALK plays an important role.

Dr. Balazs Halmos

Balazs Halmos, MD

“Many patients whose tumors harbor one of these abnormalities are reaping the benefits of our enhanced understanding of the molecular underpinnings of lung cancer, with oral targeted agents that, compared to chemotherapy, are less toxic and significantly more efficacious,” said Halmos. “This is producing frequently quite lasting major remissions in roughly two-thirds of patients. Our hope is to cure larger numbers of patients by introducing such agents earlier in the course of the disease.”

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