Antidote: cancer treatments

Share this article:
There is an ongoing revolution occurring in the treatment of cancer. Unfortunately, it is easy for the public to miss the growing excitement for the new targeted therapies and vaccines because of the typical news media fascination with bad news rather than good.                                                                  

For the longest time cancer treatments were primitive; consisting of poisoning tumors and hoping that more of the cancer died off than the normal tissue around it. But as genetic treatments and the study of proteins and enzymes have advanced, cancer is now becoming something which the body identifies as a foreign invader. The more we are able to engage the body's own immune system in the fight against cancer, the more treatments will look like vaccines.      

Rindopepimut, Celldex's new vaccine against glioblastoma, one of the deadliest of cancers, is quite promising. In a phase II clinical trial published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, survival was fivefold better than those who didn't receive the vaccine. These results are dramatic when you consider how uniformly fatal this type of tumor is.    
This vaccine opens a door a bit wider to immunological treatments of the future. The time is coming when all cancer treatments will likely involve the process of alerting the immune system and manipulating it to attack a cancer.

There is a financial downside: The price tag is high, close to $100,000 for treatment. It is often difficult to convince insurers to cover personalized treatments that work for some but not for others. Cost and profit are considerations, so is extending life when possible.

Marc Siegel, MD, is an internist and professor of medicine at New York University and the author of False Alarm: The Truth About the Epidemic of Fear
Share this article:
You must be a registered member of MMM to post a comment.
close

Next Article in Features


Reimagining healthcare? We want to hear about it.
 
Submit nominations here for MM&M's first-ever list of the Top 40 Healthcare Transformers

Email Newsletters

MM&M inVISION

More in Features

Is your marketing strategy stuck in 2005?

Is your marketing strategy stuck in 2005?

It is not enough to just have a killer black book or Rolodex. The market needs agile, swift marketing

Is guidance stifling social media?

Recent FDA draft guidance was meant to help companies create FDA-compliant tweets and handle third-party misinformation on the web. What other obstacles lie in the path of effective social media use?

Upward Move: Jose Rivera

Upward Move: Jose Rivera

Jose Rivera. EVP, account director, Concentric