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Chat on precision medicine in lung cancer

Danielle Shafer, D.O.

Last week, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) hosted a Twitter chat on precision medicine in lung cancer. Danielle Shafer, D.O., hematologist-oncologist, member of the Developmental Therapeutics research program at Massey Cancer Center and assistant professor in the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Palliative Care at the VCU School of Medicine, provided expert commentary as Dr. Shakun Malik, head of thoracic oncology therapeutics for the NCI’s Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program, posed a series of questions and discussion topics. 

Below is a recap of the chat. Some of the responses have been slightly altered to provide context that could not fit into the original 140-character tweets. Be sure to follow @VCUMassey on Twitter to keep up with Massey’s latest groundbreaking research and clinical trials, learn about patient and caregiver resources, as well as the volunteer and philanthropic opportunities available while connecting with others who share similar interests and life experiences.

Have classifications of lung cancer changed in the last few years?
Yes, thanks to better recognition of mutation pathways in lung cancer.

Have the changes in how lung cancers are classified changed how patients are treated?
The recognition of mutations is more important in driving treatment decisions. Joining a clinical trial is the best way to advance the science.

Has the shift toward precision medicine changed how lung cancer is being studied, including clinical trials?
Yes, by enriching the population of the study with patients possessing select mutations.

When should lung cancer patients consider a clinical trial or consult with their doctors?
At diagnosis and every treatment juncture! Clinical trials should be your first option, not your last.

What is the Lung-MAP clinical trial, and who is eligible?
Lung-MAP is a novel-design, second-line therapy for squamous cell patients that tests the effects and efficacy of mutation-driven therapy versus standard chemotherapy. Click here to read more. Lung-MAP is currently up and running at VCU Massey.

What is the ALCHEMIST clinical trial, and who is eligible?
Patients with early-stage resected disease can be screened and then selected patients can get adjuvant EGFR- or ALK-directed therapy. ALCHEMIST stands for Adjuvant Lung Cancer Enrichment Marker Identification and Sequencing Trials.

What about patients who don’t qualify for ALCHEMIST or Lung-MAP? What are their options?
Consideration of another clinical trial is always an option.

Are there other promising treatments in development that won’t be tested in ALCHEMIST or Lung-MAP?
Yes, there is limited testing of the immune checkpoint drugs. We are awaiting results of other ongoing trials. It's great to finally see significant advances in the lung cancer field, thanks to clinical trials and the patients who participate in them!

If I have more questions, where can I get additional information?
Call us at (877) 4-MASSEY to learn more about lung cancer treatment options or to schedule an appointment. Or visit VCU Massey’s clinical trials site here.

Written by: Liza Janssen

Posted on: November 10, 2014

Category: Research