AustinPUG Health

AustinPUG Health

2013 Cancer Statistics

The American Cancer Society’s “Cancer Facts & Figures” publication for 2013 is out and the numbers are staggering. Reporting the most current trends in cancer occurrence, treatment, prevention, and survival, the report projects the number of deaths expected in the coming year due to cancer incidence. In the year 2013 alone, over 1.5 million new cases of cancer are expected to be diagnosed in America, affecting individuals of all ages, including children. Of those, almost 600,000 are expected to die of their illness, making cancer thesecond-most common cause of death in the United States, next to heart disease.

85538 Cancer Facts 300x227 2013 Cancer Facts And Promising Late Stage Cancer Drugs Breast cancer is the most highly diagnosed cancer in women next to skin cancer. About 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed amongst US women in 2013, with 2,240 new cases expected in men. In addition, 65,000 new cases of situ breast cancer are expected to occur among women, with an estimated 40,000 breast cancer deaths expected in 2013.

Pancreatic cancer rates are on the rise, with cancer of the pancreas deemed one of the deadliest types of the disease, killing most patients within the first year of diag­nosis, with only 6% expected to survive five years. The need for additional pancreatic cancer research is urgent, including primary prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment.

Fortunately, survival rates for other certain types of cancers are on the rise and a significant portion of cancers can be prevented nowadays via early detection, reduction in behaviors such as smoking and heavy use of alcohol, improved nutrition, protecting the skin from excessive sun exposure, as well as vaccines and antibiotics for cancers related to infectious agents.

The Latest in Late-Stage Cancer Drugs

New cancer drugs are currently being investigated, with hundreds of cancer programs under surveillance and thousands of experimental medications making their way through different stages of clinical trials and awaiting FDA approval. Medical students and practitioners interested in learning more about the latest advances in the field are advised to attend the annual IATI BIOMED conference to be held June 10-12, 2013 in Tel Aviv, with early registration  ending on May 21st. International participants at the conference include companies, entrepreneurs and scientists.

Here are some of the leading late-stage cancer drugs for the year 2012:

  • BBI608: Developed by Dainippon Sumitomo and Boston Biomedical and indicated for colorectal cancer, this drug is said to hone in on malignant cancer stem cells (SCC) and mature cancer cells. This late-stage drug in currently in Phase III studies for treating colon and rectal tumors and holds great promise for the field of CSC research.
  • Cabozantinib: Developed by Exelixis and indicated for thyroid cancer and especially for prostate cancer, cabozantinib is considered one of the hottest cancer drugs in the biopharma industry today, with Phase III approval expected in the near future.
  • Carfilzomib: Developed by Onyx Pharmaceuticals and indicated for multiple myeloma, this late-stage cancer drug is currently waiting for FDA approval. Carfilzomib targets a protein complex known as the proteasome to weaken tumors in an advanced attack on plasma cancers which reduces nerve damage associated with existing therapies. Phase II trial patients had at least a partial response to the drug.
  • Enzalutamide (formerly MDV3100): Developed by Medivation and Astellas Pharma and indicated for prostate cancer, MDV3100 is stirring excitement as a weapon against prostate cancer which targets androgen receptor signaling. As opposed to the approved prostate cancer drug Zytiga, also developed by Medivation, patients on enzalutamide do not have to take prednisone or deal with the risk of elevated blood pressure from the corticosteroid. Phase III trial efficacy figures for the drug were promising, with a median overall survival rate that was 4.8 months longer than a placebo, and the FDA has already fast-tracked the program.
  • Other promising late-stage cancer drugs include: Ponatinib, Regorafenib, Talimogene laherparepvec (OncoVex), T-DM1 (trastuzumab emtansine), and Tivozanib.

Hope for the Future

In addition to the optimism brought about by new medical treatments for cancer and early intervention strategies, it has been found that experiencing a serious disease such as cancer often leads patients to reprioritize their lives, align themselves with better values, restore personal rela­tionships, and become more empathetic toward others. Moreover, in the case of cancer survivors, research indicates that family members and friends become co-survivors in the cancer journey, resulting in unforeseen benefits from the challenges associated with cancer.

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About the author: Zack Fisher helps people understand and leverage biotechnology and its impact on society. He is a freelance writer for the IATA-Biomed Israel 2013Conference  and is currently a research fellow in biomedical sciences at the West Virginia University School of Medicine.


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