Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Breast Cancer News Update: June 30

With all the coverage of the Avastin hearing, yesterday was the most one-sided breast cancer news day we can remember.

But if you're following this story you might find it worthwhile to quickly see how different respected news organizations like The New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, US News and World Report and others all covered it by accessing all their links from our single Avastin news page.

I should mention one interesting take on the Avastin: a blog entry by Dr. Debu Tripathy on the CureToday site (link). Dr. Tripathy calls the Avastin hearings "the end of an era in drug discovery." He does a nice job summarizing the situation and then links it to drug companies' need to do more research to identify predictive tests for new drugs.

If such a test existed for Avastin (in the same way that HER2 testing identifies patients who should receive Herceptin) then those Avastin patients who testified at the hearing wouldn't have to pit their own personal clinical benefit against the large number of patients who get no benefit, only side effects.

As Dr. Tripathy stated: "It is now necessary to define predictive factors at the same time a drug is initially being developed. Not only is FDA approval in jeopardy, but drug companies can no longer afford the cost of huge trials to show a tiny difference in outcomes. The FDA hearings mark a milestone in this turn - the end the old era of cancer drug development."

...and another step toward the inevitable: truly personalized medicine.

Anyway, regarding other stories yesterday, we won't waste your time. All were either repeats of stories we've already mentioned or weren't of broad relevance.

More tomorrow.

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