In the not-too-distant past, the concept that cancer could be conquered with a “magic bullet” captured the public imagination. Indeed, it was just 15 years ago that TIME
magazine hailed the approval of imatinib, one of the first targeted therapies, as a drug that might just be the great breakthrough that would turn the tide against the disease.
These days, no one is talking about finding such a simplistic answer for what we now understand is a set of diseases whose complexity continues to unfold. Instead, it has become the norm to think about emerging oncology paradigms in terms of combination therapies.
That thinking is quite evident throughout this issue of OncologyLive
. Although checkpoint blockade immunotherapies burst onto the scene starting in 2011 with the approval of ipilimumab (Yervoy), the thrust of research these days is increasingly focused on how best to combine this new class of agents with other immunotherapies and modalities.
The emphasis on combinations was featured at the 34th Annual CFSTM
Chemotherapy Foundation Symposium, as we report in our cover story, “Immuno Combos Gain Steam in Blood Cancers.”
Similarly, much of the news from the 2016 Society for Melanoma Research Congress concerned the efficacy of pairing different molecularly targeted agents.
And, interestingly, the ovarian cancer study that we feature in our Clinical Trial Spotlight involves a 3-drug regimen that includes 2 agents that attack tumor vasculature differently.
It is exciting to think that the antiangiogenic strategy pioneered with bevacizumab (Avastin) has now progressed to a novel dual targeting approach with the goal of depriving the tumor of the blood supply it needs to thrive.
These advances ow from a vastly improved understanding of the biology of cancer. That is why we are pleased to offer the insights of Matthew J. Ellis, MB BChir, PhD, FRCP, in our Precision Medicine in Oncology section in this issue in an article titled “It’s Time to Move Beyond the Genome in Breast Cancer.”
Ellis discusses the emerging science of proteogenomics,
a term for the genomic study of the proteome. This is a relatively new term in oncology research but one we are bound to hear about much more in the future.
As Ellis observes, “we are just at the beginning of a new era” in terms of studying single mutations in the context of other mutations that have evolved in the same tumor microenvironment.
We hope you find these articles informative and thought provoking. As always, thank you for reading.