Unprecedented Excitement about Advances in Lung Cancer Research at 2017 ASCO

By: Bonnie J. Addario


I remember going to the Annual Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting ten years ago and lung cancer was hardly even being addressed even though it has the highest mortality rate – higher than breast cancer, colon cancer and prostate cancer combined.

This year was quite different. Lung cancer was being discussed everywhere including the hallways. Lung cancer is quickly becoming the lead in the discovery of cancer mutations and other drivers relative to advancing therapies and survival.  I even heard the ‘cure’ word mentioned more than once.  There are now many possibilities in the future of all cancers beginning with chronic management and onto future cures.

There are two things we all still need to address and these are issues our foundations, the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (BJALCF) and the Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute, are working to address through various initiatives and partnerships. The first is the need to increase patient access to new therapies and to comprehensive genomic profiling.  During one of the ASCO sessions, I heard that only 12% of patients are being tested for genomic mutations. What good are all these new drugs currently being fast tracked by the FDA if patients can’t be identified and matched to the drugs?

The second issue and the biggest issue on the road to chronic management and eventual cures of all cancers is data collection and sharing.  I would like to see comprehensive genomic profiling become the standard of care in the US and around the world.  It is our responsibility to collect the data and make sure it is shared.  Collaboration is the quickest way to success!  This means all players need to be at the table: payers, pharma, technology, physicians, researchers, and most importantly patients and advocates – they are a huge part of the solution.

BJALCF recently launched an initiative to tackle data collection and sharing through a global patient registry project.  This is described in more detail in the attached article, which was published as part of a collection of global insights from advocates,  Advocacy: Access in Action (A3).




About the Author:

Bonnie J. Addario

Bonnie Addario is the founder and chair of the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF). The ALCF is one of the largest patient-driven philanthropies nationwide devoted exclusively to eradicating lung cancer through research, awareness, education, early detection and treatment. Ms. Addario founded the organization in 2006 after being diagnosed with lung cancer. Prior to founding ALCF, she was the president of two petroleum companies, and used her leadership skills to launch the ALCF as well as the Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute (ALCMI) in 2007. The ALCMI, is a patient-centric, international research consortium that overcomes barriers to collaboration via a world-class team of investigators from over 20 institutions in the United States and Europe, supported by dedicated research infrastructures such as centralized tissue banks and data systems. Ms. Addario is an active member of the International Association of the Study of Lung Cancer and the American Association for Cancer Research.  She is on the board of directors of the Personalized Medicine Coalition in Washington, DC and is also member of the FasterCures initiative TRAIN (The Research Acceleration and Innovation Network).

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