Pfizer to NSCLC patients: Get tested

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Pfizer Oncology has recruited Desperate Housewives and West Wing star Kathryn Joosten for Lung Cancer Profiles, a national education campaign which aims to reduce stigma and plug molecular testing of the disease. The push comes as Pfizer deepens its investment in narrowly targeted cancer treatments, whose success will require broad adoption of genetic testing.

Two-time Emmy winner Joosten's ten-year battle with lung cancer is featured on, as are stories from other lung-cancer survivors, all older women. Joosten, 71, was first diagnosed with NSCLC in 2001. She quit smoking after 45 years, had a stage I tumor removed and was cancer-free until 2009, when a stage III tumor was found.

A test revealed that her cancer was EGFR-negative and KRAS-positive, which, she says, “helped my doctors find the right trial for my type of lung cancer.” Joosten takes an investigational drug as part of the trial, and says her “most recent scan shows some nodules have shrunk, some are stable, and nothing has grown.”

"Getting my tumor tested required perseverance,” she says on the site, “and I am proud to say that I took an active role in my own health.”

Pfizer's Xalkori (crizotinib) won FDA approval in August for treatment of some patients with late-non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with a genetic mutation that can fuel the growth of cancerous cells. The agency simultaneously approved a test from Abbott Molecular Diagnostics for the mutated gene. Pfizer and Qiagen are also working on a drug-companion diagnostic combo for Pfizer's dacomitinib investigational drug for NSCLC. The culprit for those products is KRAS gene mutations.

Pfizer is working with lung cancer patient advocacy orgs on the effort, including the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, Lung Cancer Alliance, Lung Cancer Foundation of America, LUNGevity and the National Lung Cancer Partnership.
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