Can we hope to heal? Some answers come from Asco which closes today and where many studies concern drugs to be administered at an early stage because the goal is no longer to extend the life of patients by a few months but rather to make them ‘tumor-free’. And the data seem to justify such an ambition.
Today, in Italy, about 3.6 million citizens are alive after being diagnosed with cancer, an increase of 37% compared to 10 years ago. At least one in four patients (almost one million people)
has returned to have the same life expectancy as the general population and can be considered cured. Important results, obtained thanks to increasingly effective therapies and prevention campaigns, which however, due to the pandemic, have suffered a setback as well as screenings.
But the research does not give up and has never stopped not only to find effective therapeutic weapons against Covid-19 but also to make the tumor increasingly weak and winnable.
In this interview Cristian Massacesi, senior vice-president, head of oncology research and development for advanced development at AstraZeneca, a medical oncologist who now leads 1100 people in various countries around the world, explains how his company aims to beat cancer. and what ‘lessons’ they have learned from Covid-19.
How did you participate in this American Society of Clinical Oncology Congress which closes today? What impact will the data presented have?It is a very important edition and it is extremely rich for us because for the third consecutive year we present studies in plenary session, the forum in which studies considered capable of changing clinical practice are presented.
This tells us how important science is in our company and what we want to do is radically change the status quo. In particular, in the plenary we presented the OlympiA study on our Parp inhibitor olaparib
(co-developed by AstraZeneca and MSD, ed), currently approved for metastatic disease, used in an early stage of breast cancer. We have tested it on patients with Brca genetic mutation who are generally very young so much so that girls of just 20-25 years old with an average age of 50 also participated in the study.
The results obtained could really change clinical practice because previously these patients had only chemotherapy as an option while now they can take advantage of a target therapy for their Brca gene mutation. Certainly it represents 5% of all patients with breast cancer, therefore a small group but nonetheless not negligible given that breast cancer is the most common among women.