HPV Vaccine’s Success Against Cancer May Prompt A New Screening Protocol
Meanwhile, other reports cover how CAR-T cancer therapy can, in rare cases, activate latent virus. Plus, promising results for a lung cancer pill.
HPV Cancer Vaccine Study Demonstrates Efficacy
Vaccines work well to prevent cancers caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). So well, in fact, that it may be time to review HPV screening protocols, according to the somewhat provocative conclusion of a new study examining the occurrence of genital HPV types eight years after immunization, published Wednesday in Cell Host & Microbe. (Merelli, 11/8)
CAR-T Cancer Therapy, In Rare Cases, Can Activate Latent Virus
The therapy, an infusion of CAR-T cells designed to kill the lymphoma, was going well. Nearly a month after the treatment, the engineered cells had crushed the cancer, and the patient, a 49-year-old woman in the Netherlands, appeared to be cancer-free. But two weeks later, something was wrong. The patient couldn’t remember having been in the hospital or, indeed, ever being treated for lymphoma. When she returned to the hospital, a scan showed parts of her brain were swelling. (Chen, 11/8)
Lung Cancer Pill Shows ‘Earth-Shattering’ Results In 5-Year Study: ‘An Optimistic Time’
Many lung cancer patients now have access to a potentially life-saving medication. Osimertinib, sold under the brand name Tagrisso, is available to patients with Stage 1B-3A lung cancer who have a certain genetic mutation and have had surgery to remove cancerous tumors. Among those patients, Tagrisso was shown to reduce the five-year risk of recurrent cancer by up to 73% and the risk of death by up to 51%, according to research published in The New England Journal of Medicine over the summer. (Rudy, 11/9)
Insurance Denied A Lawyer’s Cancer Therapy. So He Took Them To Court.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield denied payment for the proton therapy Robert “Skeeter” Salim’s doctor ordered to fight his throat cancer. But he was no ordinary patient. He was a celebrated litigator. And he was ready to fight. (Miller, 11/7)
In related news —
FDA Chief Wants To Focus On Life Expectancy, Not Just Cures
It’s easy to get people worked up about cures, but they don’t seem to be bothered by falling life expectancy, and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Robert Califf would like to figure out how to connect the two. The United States has one of the lowest life expectancy rates among wealthy nations. Post-pandemic, the average American life span is down to 76.4 years. The average life expectancy in comparable countries is 80.3 years. (Wilkerson, 11/8)