OBR Daily Commentary

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Agennix Plunges as Cancer Drug Fails in Trial: Frankfurt Mover

(Bloomberg) Aug 7, 2012 - Agennix AG shares declined as much as 79 percent in Frankfurt trading after an experimental treatment for lung cancer failed to meet targets in a late-stage trial, threatening the company’s survival.

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H. Jack West, MD (Posted: August 07, 2012)

quotesThese results are very disappointing. The phase II data with this agent in several lung cancer settings looked very favorable, both in terms of improving efficacy and, remarkably, reducing adverse effects when given in combination with cytotoxic chemotherapy. Nevertheless, the definitive randomized phase III trial with over 700 patients failed to demonstrate an improvement in either progression-free or overall survival, so this work is now added to the disheartneningly large collection of agents that have appeared very promising in early work but nevertheless fail to demonstrate comparable efficacy in a larger, randomized trial setting -- a sobering reminder that we need to complete the proper large comparative trials before presuming that any early work will translate into clinically significant benefits. quotes

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23andMe Seeks FDA Approval for Personal DNA Test

(Time Healthland/Associated Press) July 31, 2012 - Genetic test maker 23andMe is asking the Food and Drug Administration to approve its personalized DNA test in a move that, if successful, could boost acceptance of technology that is viewed skeptically by leading scientists who question its usefulness.

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H. Jack West, MD (Posted: July 31, 2012)

quotes I think it's always a challenge when any test, whether it's PET/CT screening at the mall, or genetic testing marketed directly to consumers, is provided without a solid mechanism for putting results into context or managing the potential outcomes. What happens if the results demonstrate that a person as a remarkably higher probability of developing Parkinson's disease or a particular cancer than the general population? One of the central tenets of medicine is to do tests for which you can define how the outcome will change your management. It's always a Pandora's Box to do tests with wide-ranging possible results for which you can't define prospectively how you'd use that information.quotes

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Lung Spots Less Dangerous Than Patients Think

(Fox News/Reuters) July 27, 2012 - Patients learning they have a "spot" on their lung often assume they have cancer, according to a new study - but that's usually not the case.

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H. Jack West, MD (Posted: July 27, 2012)

quotes This report highlights what we definitely see in the medical world -- that we need to account for the anxiety generated from detection of ambiguous lung nodules detected on incidental chest CT scans or screening scans. Several studies have reported that a majority of lung nodules are benign, certainly in parts of the country where pulmonary infections are common, but the common feature of both benign lung nodules and true cancers detected as small lung nodules is a cascade of anxiety and many additional tests. here is enough evidence now to support routine chest CT screening for people at high risk for lung cancer, with a demonstration of a significant survival benefit, but it would be helpful if we could develop both additional ways to refine our level of concern and also more effective ways to communicate about ambiguous findings and the need for follow-up without these questionable findings clearly representing a diagnosis of cancer.quotes

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Meet the Editorial Board

Prostate Cancer
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Tomasz M. Beer, MD, FACP

Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Medical O...

Community Oncology
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Dean Gesme, MD

FACP FACPE FASCO President, Minnesota Oncology...

Breast Cancer
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Debu Tripathy, MD

Professor and Chair, Department of Breast Medical Oncol...

Lung Cancer
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H. Jack West, MD

Associate Clinical Professor, Medical Oncology Executi...

Gastrointestinal Cancers
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Howard S. Hochster, MD

Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Rutgers Robert Woo...

Radiation Oncology
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Howard Sandler, MD, MS, FASTRO

Ronald H. Bloom Chair in Cancer Therapeutics
Pr...

Community Oncology
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Jeff Patton, M.D.

CEO Tennessee Oncology...

Precision Medicine Section Editor
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Jennifer Levin Carter, MD, MPH

Chief Medical Officer and Founder, N-of-One...

Financial Sector
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Michael G. King Jr.

Managing Director and Senior Biotechnology Analyst...

Gastrointestinal Cancers
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Richard Goldberg, MD

Director WVU Cancer Institute Director of Cancer Signa...

Editor-In-Chief
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Robert A. Figlin, MD., FACP

Professor and Director, Division of Hematology Oncology...

Health Policy
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Ted Okon

Executive Director Community Oncology Alliance...

Community Oncology
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Thomas Marsland, MD

Vice President Integrated Community Oncology Network ...

Community Oncology
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William Harwin MD

Florida Cancer Specialists President and Managing Part...

Health Policy
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William McGivney, PhD

National Health Policy Expert...

Payer
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Winston Wong, PharmD

President, W-Squared Group...