A sobering assessment from the recent World Oncology Forum on the potential and results from some of the new targeted and personalized drugs. Quote:
Only a few years ago, many cancer experts thought the arrival of targeted medicines, designed to attack the genetic makeup of the tumour, would make dramatic inroads into cancer deaths. That has not happened. Instead, these therapies have only bought a few extra months of life. If the question was whether the world was winning the war on cancer, said Douglas Hanahan of the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research, who outlined the latest state of drug research, “in general, for most forms of human cancer, the answer is clearly no”.
The excitement generated by targeted drugs, which interfere with specific molecules involved in tumour growth and suppression, has been short-lived.
Linked to this are some of the perverse industry incentives, the high cost of some of the new drugs, and the need for greater emphasis on prevention.