cancer risks, including family history; and the individual’s
tolerance of potential bene;ts and screening harms.
Transforming Lives Through Research
;e dedicated e;orts of individuals working throughout
the cycle of biomedical research have led to extraordinary
advances across the continuum of clinical care that are
transforming lives in the United States and worldwide.
As a result of research advances, the FDA approved six new
anticancer therapeutics in the 12 months leading up to July
31, 2014. During this time, the FDA also approved new uses
for ;ve previously approved anticancer therapeutics, a new
use for a previously approved test for detecting the cancer-causing pathogen human papillomavirus (HPV), and new
uses for two imaging agents.
Five of the new anticancer therapeutics approved by the FDA
target speci;c molecules involved in the cancer process and
are referred to as molecularly targeted therapeutics. ;ey are
part of a revolution in cancer treatment that began just over
a decade ago. ;is revolution is changing the standard of
cancer care from a one-size-;ts-all approach to one in which
the molecular makeup of the patient and his or her tumor
dictates the best therapeutic strategy. ;is approach is o;en
called personalized cancer medicine.
One of the new anticancer therapeutics approved by the
FDA is also an immunotherapeutic. Cancer immunotherapy
is a relatively new approach to cancer treatment that
has begun to transform the lives of patients with certain
cancers. ;ere are several types of cancer immunotherapy,
each of which works in a di;erent way to train a patient’s
immune system to destroy the cancer. A number of cancer
immunotherapeutics are showing immense promise in
clinical trials, with some patients having remarkable and
As a result of research advances, more people than ever
before are surviving longer and leading fuller lives a;er a
cancer diagnosis. Despite this, cancer survivors o;en face
serious and persistent adverse outcomes, including physical,
emotional, psychosocial, and ;nancial challenges as a result
of their cancer diagnosis and treatment. ;e issues facing
each survivor vary depending on many factors, including
gender, age at diagnosis, type of cancer diagnosed, general
health at diagnosis, and type of treatment received.
Individuals who receive their cancer diagnoses as children,
adolescents, young adults, or when elderly, are particularly
vulnerable to treatment-related health issues. Research
is being performed to help all cancer survivors meet the
numerous challenges they face.
What Progress Does the Future Hold?
;e genetic information about cancer initiation and
development that we have learned through genomics
research has been central to the personalized cancer
medicine revolution. ;is new knowledge is now beginning
to be used to reform how clinical trials are designed and
conducted. As we look to the future, we can expect to see
greater deployment of genomics and computational biology,
of the U.S. population is a
cancer survivor ( 3).