The Outlook for Progress

OncologyLive, January 2015, Volume 16, Issue 1

The toolkit for attacking many tumor types is well stocked, and the prospects for continued progress are brighter than ever.

OncLive Chairman,

Mike Hennessy

We’ve never seen a survey to confirm this, but it certainly seems as though oncology and hematology specialists are more technology savvy and forward looking than their counterparts in other medical practice areas.

Perhaps this intensive interest in the next therapeutic advances and the willingness to embrace new concepts stems from the many bleak years in which oncology practitioners had few effective, tolerable medicines to offer their patients.

Today, of course, that picture has changed dramatically. The toolkit for attacking many tumor types is well stocked, and the prospects for continued progress are brighter than ever.

It seems fitting, then, to start a new year by taking stock of the impact that some of the best agents in that toolkit—the first generation of targeted therapies—have had on patients’ outcomes, and by pondering the ways in which newer therapies might improve upon those results.

If we had a Hall of Fame for cancer drugs, these agents would certainly be in it: rituximab, imatinib, trastuzumab, and erlotinib. Yet there is no doubt that researchers are trying to do better. In our story, “Moving Beyond Targeted Therapy Stalwarts,” four experts provide a snapshot of the prospects for second- and third-generation therapeutic regimens in non-Hodgkin lymphoma, chronic myeloid leukemia, HER2-positive breast cancer, and non—small cell lung cancer.

Similarly, researchers are expecting treatment options to improve significantly for patients with multiple myeloma as a result of novel therapies now in development. We highlight several of these new agents in our coverage of the 2014 American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting.

Amid the optimism that you will find throughout this website, however, there also is the sense of the complexity and difficulty involved in understanding and then attacking the mechanisms of cancer. That also comes with the territory in oncology, which was essentially starting from ground zero when the “war on cancer” was famously declared more than 40 years ago.

We look forward to another year of bringing news of these developments to you. Please let us know what you would like to learn about in our oncology publications, on our website, and in our video presentations from experts. And, as always, thank you for reading.