25 August 2015

The top 5 Advances in Modern Oncology

What would you consider to be the top recent advances in the world of cancer?

As part of the 50th anniversary celebrations at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the society prepared a list of the most significant clinical cancer advances in modern oncology.

It then invited physicians, patients, and the public to vote for what they considered to be the top 5 advances in the last 50 years. The votes are now in. Take a moment and reflect, what would you have chosen???

Well, this week we go Out on a Limb once more and reveal what ASCO decided they are, but first

        Thought for the day

                The future begins today

                       Wayne Gerard Trotman
                       British filmmaker, writer

So here they are. The American Society of Clinical Oncology has revealed what it describes as the "Top 5 Advances in Modern Oncology.”

1. Chemotherapy cures advanced Hodgkin lymphoma
In 1965 came the first chemotherapy breakthrough for advanced cancer in adults, when a 4-drug combination chemotherapy regimen (cyclophosphamide, vincristine, mechlorethamine, and prednisone, known as MOPP) induced long-term remissions in more than half of patients with aggressive Hodgkin lymphoma.

This regimen quickly became standard treatment, but in the 1970s, a different 4-drug combination (doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine, known as ABVD) proved even more effective, curing about 70% of patients with advanced Hodgkin lymphoma. The ABVD combination remains a mainstay of treatment today, ASCO comments.

It adds that the 1965 discovery of MOPP "sparked the first hope that advanced cancers could be cured with drug treatment, and paved the way for 90% cure rates for patients with this disease (Hodgkin lymphoma) today."

2. HPV vaccine approved to prevent cervical cancer
In 2006, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, Gardasil, which protects against the two strains of HPV (16 and 18) known to cause 70% of cervical cancers, as well as two other HPV strains (6 and 11) associated with genital warts.

Another HPV vaccine, Ceravix, which protects against the 2 strains linked to cervical cancer (16 and 18), was approved in 2009. Gardasil was first approved for the prevention of HPV-related cervical cancer, but this later expanded to include prevention of additional HPV-related diseases, including vaginal, vulvar, and anal cancers in women, and anal cancer and genital warts in men.

ASCO adds that studies have also linked HPV infection to head and neck cancers, suggesting that the vaccine may help prevent these cancers as well. "Widespread vaccination, if fully implemented, stands to drive dramatic reductions in cervical and other HPV-related cancers in the US and worldwide," it adds.

3. Targeted drug transforms treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia
In 2001, the rapid FDA review and approval of imatinib (Gleevec) dramatically changed the treatment of patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML).

This easy-to-take daily pill ― which targets a molecular defect (the Philadephia chromosome) present in nearly all patients with CML ― turned a disease with almost no long-term survivors into one with 5-year survival rates of 90%, ASCO comments. It also ushered in a new era of successful research on molecularly targeted treatments for many more cancers.

4. Chemotherapy cures men with testicular cancer
In 1977 came the pivotal trial showing that the 3-drug chemotherapy regimen known as PVB
(cisplatin, vinblastine, and bleomycin) produced complete remissions and some cures for more than 70% of men with advanced testicular cancer. Earlier chemotherapy treatments worked in just 5% of men, ASCO notes.

This combination regimen, coupled with later surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy advances, has made testicular cancer "one of the most curable cancers and one of oncology's biggest success stories."

5. Powerful antinausea drugs dramatically improve many patients' quality of life
In 1991, the FDA approval of the antinausea drug ondansetron (Zofran), as well as other supportive-care drugs in the following years, have together dramatically changed the experience of cancer treatment, bringing unprecedented improvements to patients' quality of life, ASCO comments.

Ondansetron, a 5HT3 receptor antagonist, works by deactivating the nervous system's natural trigger for vomiting, and other similar drugs were also soon approved, including granisetron (Kytril), dolasetron (Anzemet) and palonosetron (Aloxi).

These and other antinausea drugs, like aprepitant (Emend), which is a substance P/neurokinin 1 antagonist, allow most cancer patients to receive chemotherapy in an outpatient setting, with minimal disruption to their daily routines, ASCO commented.

"These drugs not only bring relief from intense, treatment-induced nausea, but make it possible for patients to avoid once-routine hospital stays, complete their full course of treatment, and live longer and better lives," it added.

Editor’s comment
Nothing here directly related to any of the most common cancers – breast, prostate, lung, bowel etc; and nothing from recent years. No studies on long-term survivors. No recognition of any Lifestyle Medicine benefits (nutrition, power of the mind, meditation, exercise etc).

Ever wonder how well all those research dollars are really being spent ? Or is this a sample that reflects a bias? What do you think?  What would be in your top 5? Add a comment below....

Reference: Click here


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Meditation Under the Long White Cloud   24 - 30 October 2015

7 day retreat at Mana Retreat Centre, Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand

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Finding peace in the Healing Process

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MIND-BODY MEDICINE and CANCER    November  2015    Tuesday 10th to Saturday 14th

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  1. I wonder to what extent cancer is itself an outcome of a narrow adherence to an exclusively rationalist, positivist approach to life and thinking? ie one that has lost all intuitive adaptive facility, if not simple love and faith?

  2. I totally disagree with ASCO , these are complete lies perpetrated by drug companies . Gardasil is the most evil vaccine yet . So many reports of shocking side effects and permanent damage continue to be reported , mainstream media ignores the problems . Cancer is NOT being cured by chemotherapy , some patients recover but most die a terrible death . Billions of dollars are made from legal drugs , Doctors are taught to prescribe them and to scorn Holistic healing . Lifestyle medicine is , from what i have seen and experienced the only effective treatment not only for cancer but most disease . There must be change from the human mistreatment that is " modern medicine " and I include most surgery as well .

    1. Patricia, I think you've been reading too many unreliable websites. The shocking side effects and permanent damage don't exist, which is why the mainstream media ignores the reports. A bit like why they ignore UFO reports.

      I am alive because of the amazing advances in hormone therapy for metastatic prostate cancer.

  3. Great subject Ian. Very clear that things have really come to a kind of standstill in the progress of Oncology.

  4. Top 5, Good nutritional whole food, organic as much as possible,
    being educated and aware of the options available for the type of cancer you have. It is a minefield out there,
    so finding support and people you trust to help guide you,
    inner peace and insight thru meditation and
    finally walking in nature or gardening..these are my top 5
    Thank you Ian and Ruth for being my "go to " people for info I can trust and follow,
    Very grateful, megan

  5. Another great article, Ian.It's not surprising that conventional cancer organisations miss the elephant in the room. The reductionist tendency of western medicine (indded science) doesn't see elephants, it sees molecules, dollars, power and control!

    My top 5 advances, three centering around the power of desistance 1) Water-only fasting as required (older than 50 years but now gaining more widespread acceptance); 2) Meditation and relaxation or "letting go" techniques; 3) Smoking discouragement initiatives; 4) the discovery of phyto-chemicals and the anti-cancer benefits in cruciferous vegetables and other plant-based foods; 5) the role of appropriate activity, movement and exercise for proper immune function. Greg Fitzgerald

  6. My life lately has been very stressful, due to my husband's behaviour as an Aspergers person and now out of the blue I have discovered 3 melanomas. I put it down to my stress levels and I am treating the melanomas with cancema and it is working very well. I do not believe in the drug companies ideas, and have a very pure diet, I exercise and do my Buddhist practice daily and keep my mind relaxed, and with the help of my naturopath's herbal medicine, I no longer allow stress to come into my life. I understand my husband's aspergers well now and cope with it much better.

  7. Top 5 in my personal tool kit:
    1. Taking Control; self-empowerment through the knowledge that I can heal myself and that western medicine is just one of many options I can choose to adopt in my toolkit.
    2. Meditation; opening up to the profound physical and spiritual healing capabilities of meditation.
    3. I am what I eat; coming to the realisation that what I put in my mouth is the bricks and mortar that my body uses to build and repair my cells. If I want a strong foundation and structure I need to be able to identify which foods provide beneficial building materials, which are likely to be detrimental and weaken my body’s resistance to disease.
    4. Mindfulness; living right now in the present moment. Realising that yesterday has gone, tomorrow does not exist and that this present moment is precious and worth living to its fullest.
    5. The power of support; accepting and embracing with gratitude the support of family, friends and support groups.

    Betsy xx