The Expanding Role of PD-1 Inhibitors in Cancer Treatment

March 22, 2019

By: John C. Paschold, MD - Virginia Oncology Associates

Since 2006, when the first clinical trial began testing the effectiveness of PD-1 inhibitors, the use of these immunotherapy drugs has increased dramatically. Over the last two to three years, these drugs have moved from research trials into mainstream cancer treatment, particularly for late stage melanoma, lung cancers, kidney cancers, and head and neck cancers.

Read More Categories: Cancer Research, Cancer Treatment

Novel Treatments in Lung Cancer See Expanded Use

January 4, 2019

By: Graham T. Watson, MD – Virginia Oncology Associates

The quickly expanding knowledge of cancer biology has led to new, highly effective treatments for patients with non-small cell lung cancer. Advances in genetics have brought about targeted therapy with drugs that “target” a specific driver mutation. With deeper understanding of the immune system’s interaction with cancer cells, we can uncloak cancer cells that previously hid from immune destruction. For years, we have leveraged these therapies only in Stage IV lung cancer, but research has shown that that Stage III patients treated first with chemoradiotherapy can also gain benefit.

 Immunotherapies such as nivolumab (Opdivo®) or pembrolizumab (Keytruda®) have helped patients with incurable, Stage IV, lung cancer live longer. While these drugs represent a major breakthrough, limiting their use to Stage IV patients is a frustration for both patients and doctors. While the goal of treatment in Stage III lung cancer patients is cure, the rates of recurrence are high. Finding treatment that can reduce this risk of recurrence is a worthy goal.

Read More Categories: Lung Cancer, Cancer Research, Cancer Treatment

The Evolution of Genetic Testing and Immunotherapy in Prostate Cancer

March 1, 2018

By Mark T. Fleming, MD

Genetic testing for cancer and targeted drug therapy regimens have changed how multiple cancers, particularly breast cancer, colon cancer, and lung cancers are cared for. More and more, we are finding similar benefits in the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer.

High-quality genetic testing now can accurately pinpoint both hereditary and somatic mutations, providing crucial insights into how prostate cancer develops and grows. At the same time, new medications tailored to specific mutations have shown great promise in clinical trials, especially in a metastatic disease that has not responded to standard androgen-deprivation therapy.

Read More Categories: Genetic Testing, Prostate Cancer, Cancer Treatment

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