ASCO Names Immunotherapy as Cancer Advance of the Year

Feb 04, 2016

2016 Clinical Cancer Advances report reviews the year’s top research accomplishments

No recent cancer discovery has been more transformative than immunotherapy. Its ability to prolong life for people with advanced melanoma and lung cancer, and results presented or published in the past year showing that it can slow the growth of many other cancers, makes cancer immunotherapy ASCO’s Advance of the Year. This standout achievement was announced as part of Clinical Cancer Advances 2016: ASCO’s Report on Progress Against Cancer.

“Immunotherapy is proving highly effective for particular subsets of patients with very difficult-to-treat cancers. In fact, immunotherapy is often able to control cancer growth longer than chemotherapy, and may be easier for some patients to tolerate,” said Don S. Dizon, MD, FACP, Co-Executive Editor of the report. “The next challenge is to expand its benefits to more people. We are already seeing early success with regimens that combine immunotherapy with radiotherapy or chemotherapy.”

Now in its 11th year, Clinical Cancer Advances features an eclectic selection of recent trends and achievements across the entire continuum of cancer care, from prevention and screening to treatment and survivorship.

“Almost every clinical advance stems from rigorous basic research, much of which is backed by U.S. federal dollars,” 2015-2016 ASCO President Julie M. Vose, MD, MBA, FASCO, states in the report. More than 30% of the top advances featured in this report were directly supported by federal research funding. Among the most significant are:

  • A nationwide analysis revealing remarkable gains in long-term childhood cancer survival over three decades
  • A combination of two novel targeted drugs that slows the growth of a difficult- to-treat form of ovarian cancer

In late 2015, the U.S. Congress took an important step forward in recognizing the vital importance of federal research by increasing Fiscal Year 2016 funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). This hard-fought victory came after a decade-long decline in NIH funding and significant advocacy efforts by ASCO and the larger biomedical research community. In the report, ASCO calls on lawmakers to build on this year’s NIH and NCI investment to ensure tomorrow’s cures.

About Clinical Cancer Advances

ASCO developed the annual Clinical Cancer Advances report to document the important progress being made in clinical cancer research and highlight emerging trends in the field. As a whole, this document attests to the current state of the science and envisions future directions of cancer research.

Clinical Cancer Advances 2016 was published online ahead of print on February 4, 2016, in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. A digital edition of the report featuring additional content is available online.


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