Progress Against Cancer
North American Precis Syndicate
Researchers have found new ways to combat cancer. (NAPS)
(NAPSI)—Significant advances against cancer have resulted in a
steadily declining cancer death rate for Americans over the past 25 years,
according to the seventh annual American Association for Cancer Research
(AACR) Cancer Progress Report.
The 2017 report, which provides an overview of the latest advances in
cancer research, prevention and treatment, calls for robust government
funding of biomedical research so that the research community can continue to
make progress against cancer.
"This is an incredibly exciting time for the cancer community,"
said Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (hc), chief executive officer of the AACR.
"Research has fueled advances across the continuum of cancer care that
are saving lives around the world, and we have the scientific knowledge and
capability to deliver more lifesaving progress in the future."
According to the report, the U.S. cancer death rate declined
by 25 percent between 1991 and 2014. The cancer death rate for children
declined by 35 percent during the same time.
Numerous factors have contributed to improved survival, including earlier
detection and many new treatment options. In the past year alone, the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved nine new anticancer drugs. Also,
it expanded approval of eight previously approved drugs, allowing them to be
used to treat additional types of cancer.
One of the approvals was for a drug for patients with any type of solid
tumor containing a certain biomarker or genetic feature. All previous
approvals had been based on the location of cancer in the body. The drug,
Keytruda (pembrolizumab), is an immunotherapeutic that has brought
significant benefit to many patients, including former U.S. President Jimmy
AACR leaders cautioned that while new drug approvals and improving
survival rates are signs of tremendous progress against cancer, there is
still much work to be done. More than 600,920 people in the United States are projected to die from cancer
in 2017, and the number of new cases of cancer in the United States
is predicted to rise from 1.7 million in 2017 to 2.3 million in 2030.
"Cancer continues to exert an immense personal and economic
toll," the authors wrote, adding that the burden is shouldered
disproportionately by certain segments of the population, including racial
and ethnic minorities, patients of lower socioeconomic status, residents of
certain geographic locations, and the elderly. This gap, known as a health
disparity, is an area of growing research.
To accelerate the pace of progress against cancer, the report calls for
the United States
government to support federal research funding for organizations including
the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Cancer Institute (NCI)
and the FDA. Specifically, the report asks Congress to increase the NIH
budget by $2 billion to $36.2 billion in fiscal year 2018 and the FDA budget
by $80 million to $2.8 billion.
The Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot, an initiative launched by former Vice
President Joe Biden with the guidance of numerous AACR leaders, must also
receive support as it takes aim at reducing the nation's burden of cancer,
the report said.
"As research has taught us more about the biology of cancer, we have
been able to make incredible advances in cancer prevention and treatment that
are saving lives today," said Michael A. Caligiuri, M.D., president of
the AACR and chief executive officer of the Arthur
and Richard J. Solove Research Institute in Columbus, Ohio.
"The opportunity to make more transformational breakthroughs will
require a strong federal commitment to providing consistent, annual,
above-inflation increases in the budgets for the NIH, NCI and FDA."
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