As the National Cancer Act turns 50, the Winship Cancer Institute reflects on progress
POSITIVE IMPACT ON PATIENT LIFE
Advances in patient care – new targeted drugs, imaging technologies, radiation therapy, and surgeries – are real signs of progress.
âI feel like I’m part of a revolution in terms of multiple myeloma, treating patients, and it’s not a death sentence. Winship treats many patients with multiple myeloma, and the staff physicians who treat multiple myeloma are well known in the field.
Mobley’s doctor, Sagar Lonial, MD, Professor and Head of the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, and Chief Medical Officer of Winship, is renowned for his pioneering work in the treatment of multiple myeloma. He described some of the giant strides made under the NCA to advance research and development of pharmaceutical therapies – drugs, used in combination, that have turned a once invariably fatal disease into a manageable chronic disease.
âIn the 1970s,â Lonial says, âthe only drugs available were alkylating agents like Melphalan and Cyclophosphamide, and corticosteroids. That’s about all you had. And the expected median survival for a patient with myeloma was two and a half to three years.
It is very different today.
âYou are moving quickly to 2020, for example, when we published our retrospective article of 1,000 patients, all treated with Emory, and the expected median survival is 10 years. And that’s with data that’s eight years old, âhe says.
âYou now have nine or 10 different approvals with different drugs and targets to use throughout a patient’s journey. “
Providing treatment options is reassuring for patients. Mobley said.
âI knew from the start that if a certain treatment didn’t work, I didn’t have to worry because there were others we could test.
During Lung Cancer Awareness Month in November 2021, Suresh S. Ramalingam, MD, Executive Director of Winship and Distinguished Roberto C. Goizueta Chair in Cancer Research, provided an update on his position in the lung cancer pantheon.
âIn the United States, lung cancer deaths have been steadily declining over the past 10 years,â he says. “For this reason, we can confidently say that long-term survival is possible even with advanced stages of lung cancer.”
Ramalingam credited the investments and research in personalized therapies, new therapeutic approaches and immunotherapy approaches to treat lung cancer.
âWe now have a platform that positions us well to take it to the next level in pushing research and patient care to improve outcomes for all lung cancer patients, âhe says.