Cancer patients have many more treatment options than they did a decade ago and are living longer with the disease than ever before. But federal funding for cancer research has been severely cut, putting future advances in peril and it may take longer for cancer patients to see the benefits of research than in other research fields. In response, a new initiative called Project Innovation was created this fall by the National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF) as a grassroots effort to galvanize all cancer stakeholders – from patients, to researchers, payers, and policy maker – to speak out about the importance of cancer research and innovation.
In a recently released video on C-Span, Jefferson’s Medical Oncologist Edith Mitchell, MD, FACP, participated in a panel at Capitol Hill to discuss cancer innovation, speaking to the incredible accomplishments that have already been made and to the need for renewed focus. She mentioned a number of drugs that had essentially cured previously incurable cancers. She talked about the advances in anti-nausea medication that helped patients tolerate essential chemotherapies better and the advances in genomically-targeted drugs that are helping doctors find the genomic “Achilles Heel” of each patient’s cancer.
According to Dr. Mitchell, “All of us must work together to make the commitments to provide the resources that permit enhanced innovative research and clinical applications… It’s the legacy of ASCO and those early scientists and clinicians who got together to say we must develop innovative technologies to take care of patients with cancer. We must continue this legacy.”