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Dr Bruce Feinberg: Are We Past the Point of Researching Chemotherapy in Cancer?

If chemotherapy is still going to be used for another decade, there needs to be continued research into it and how to improve quality of life for patients treated with it, said Bruce Feinberg, DO, vice president and chief medical officer of Cardinal Health Specialty Solutions.


If chemotherapy is still going to be used for another decade, there needs to be continued research into it and how to improve quality of life for patients treated with it, said Bruce Feinberg, DO, vice president and chief medical officer of Cardinal Health Specialty Solutions.

In what ways can chemotherapy be improved upon with additional research?

So, it raises questions about, if chemotherapy is truly alive and well and the stories about its demise have been exaggerated, then are we past the point of researching chemotherapy? Is the future of research strictly [immuno-oncology] and precision medicine and now gene therapy? Or is there a need, if we’re going to be using chemotherapy for at least a decade to come, to continue that research into better chemotherapy? Chemotherapy that not only has higher efficacy, but significantly better quality of life and adverse event profile.

Do you think there is a future in which chemotherapy eventually is no longer used, or with improvements and new agents will chemotherapy always have some sort of role to play in certain cancers?

So, it’s difficult when you look out at phase 1, 2, and 3 clinical trials and just doing a simple search on ClinicalTrial.gov, and do that in the major cancer types—so, let’s say the top 10 by prevalence—it’s hard to see where the end of chemotherapy really exists. It doesn’t appear to be in the next decade. Could it be a decade later?

So many of the trials that are in design are designed as chemotherapy plus novel mechanism of action drug. And so, it’s a little different than when we focused on chemotherapy only, as we did in our research on single-agent sequential treatment of metastatic breast cancer. But nonetheless, it still suggests that chemotherapy is around for a long time to come.

 
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