An excerpt from an article today about MD Andersons Moon shots program: The main purpose of the program is to accelerate the conversion of scientific discoveries into clinical advances, as well as reduce the number of deaths caused by melanoma, lung, prostate and breast/ovarian cancers as well as chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML)/myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). The co-director of the Moon Shots Program, Giulio Draetta, M.D., Ph.D., who is a professor in Molecular and Cellular Oncology, characterizes it using two concepts: “Execution and rocket science.” “This first wave of accomplishments reflects the moon shots’ emphasis on execution. It’s a matter of more efficiently applying what we already know about cancer to help our patients,” stated Drayetta. “Rocket science enables our clinicians and scientists to make discoveries and clinical advances that really turn the world around. Achieving that will require inventions yet to come. It will take time.” Moon Shots has been developing and utilizing innovative platforms dedicated to the study of immunotherapies, genomics, proteomics, prevention and big data, aided by MD Anderson’s Center for Co-Clinical Trials and Institute for Applied Cancer Science. A new protocol developed through Moon Shots for determining which types of ovarian cancer should be treated with surgery upfront and need pre-surgical chemotherapy has radically increased the rate of complete surgical removal of tumors, an accomplishment that improves patient survival. One of its most prominent results is a new algorithm that allows patients to undergo less-invasive laparoscopic evaluation, which is ranked by two different surgeons to assess the cancer’s spread to other organs. The evaluation aims to support physicians in making decisions on treatment options, and until now, patients would need exploratory surgery in order to understand the extent of the disease, as well as to remove the tumor. The procedure results in between 20 and 30% of the patients achieving “complete gross resection.” The algorithm was tested in 155 cases and revealed 89% of efficacy. In addition, the project Making Cancer History of the Family provides genetic screening to look for mutations in the BRCA 1 and 2 genes, which are responsible for the increase of the risk for two types of cancer, a product of Moon Shot’s focus on high-grade serous ovarian cancer and triple-negative breast cancer. Inherited mutations and the possibility of risk-elevating variations are also increased, and by finding BRCA mutations, the program aims to educate family members.
Posted on: Sun, 02 Nov 2014 00:36:53 +0000
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