It's the best of times - and a most precarious time - for cancer research.
The new issue of Stanford Medicine magazine, a special report on cancer, explains that while data and insights pour in as never before, the efforts to prevent, treat and cure cancer are faltering. The big threats? A dysfunctional cancer clinical-trial system, disastrous drug shortages and a health-care system unable to deliver cancer care at an affordable price.
According to the head of Stanford's Health Research and Policy Department Phil Lavori, PhD, (quoted in the report's lead story):
Basic scientists have opened a fire hose of information. There are many, many good ideas. But there are real problems in the ways we test these ideas and bring the resulting therapies to patients. If we can't resolve these, we're risking an incredible opportunity to make progress.
Read the whole report for more, including:
- The lead piece on fighting cancer at a time of burgeoning data and circumscribed resources.
- A Q&A with Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of The Emperor of all Maladies: A Biography of Cancer.
- An account of a family wrestling with cancer during pregnancy.
- An article on cancer survivors' need for special support -- and how rarely they get it.
- A cancer patient's perspective on palliative care.
- A how-to guide for developing a cancer diagnostic test with just an Internet browser, high school biology, basic statistics and a few thousand dollars.
- The story behind a push to reconsider a controversial treatment for metastatic, "incurable" breast cancer: high-dose chemotherapy.
- A quick look at some of Stanford's recent cancer research discoveries.
- A take on new evidence showing that "good" stress might thwart cancer.
Previously: Surviving survival: The new Stanford Medicine magazine is out, New Stanford Medicine magazine explores bioethics and New Stanford Medicine magazine looks at the metamorphosis of the teaching hospital
Illustration by Anita Kunz