Major Advances in Cancer Research and Treatment Presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting


In an extraordinary demonstration of excellence, five Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center physician-scientists were selected to participate in the press program at the 2011 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting, held June 3 - 7 in Chicago. ASCO is the world’s premier oncology professional society, representing nearly 30,000 multidisciplinary medical professionals who treat people with cancer.

The press program highlights clinical cancer research that a panel of ASCO experts considers the most significant of the year and that they determine deserves media attention. This year, out of more than 4,000 abstracts that were presented or published at the meeting, 24 were selected for the press program.

“This was an incredible year for the Center and for our remarkable clinical staff,” says Memorial Sloan Kettering President Craig B. Thompson. “The number of Memorial Sloan Kettering clinicians chosen to present as part of ASCO’s press program shows that our institution produces among the most important, practice-changing research in clinical oncology. It is also a special honor that two oncologists from the same institution and the same clinical group were invited to present at the Plenary Session.” Memorial Sloan Kettering clinicians on the press program included medical oncologists and melanoma experts Paul Chapman and Jedd Wolchok, who presented their research findings at the Plenary Session. ASCO Plenary Sessions highlight scientific research deemed to have the highest merit and greatest impact on oncology research and practice.

“We are proud not only of the clinicians included in the press program but of all Memorial Sloan Kettering’s extraordinary physician-scientists,” concludes Dr. Thompson. “They are passionately committed to their dual roles: as doctors involved in hands-on patient care, and as investigators working to advance the scientific knowledge that leads to new and better treatments for their patients and patients with cancer worldwide.”


What follows are links to press releases of the data presented by Memorial Sloan Kettering clinicians featured in ASCO’s 2011 press program.

New Drug Combination Slows Tumor Growth For Recurrent Ovarian Cancer

Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Carol Aghajanian shared results from a randomized phase III trial of women whose ovarian cancer had recurred after initial treatment. Researchers found that adding bevacizumab to standard chemotherapy resulted in a statistically significant and clinically relevant benefit.

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Drug Shown To Significantly Improve Survival In Men With Metastatic Prostate Cancer While Exploring A Potential Biomarker To Measure Treatment Response

In this study presented by Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Howard Scher, researchers have begun the process of exploring a potential biomarker that may help clinicians determine a drug’s effectiveness in prostate cancer and hasten new drug approvals.

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Tumors In Majority Of Patients With Advanced Lung Cancer Found To Have Genetic Mutations That Can Be Treated With Targeted Therapies

Results from an ongoing study spearheaded by the National Cancer Institute’s Lung Cancer Mutation Consortium and led by Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Mark Kris showed that the key to treating lung cancer effectively is to customize treatment by screening patients’ tumor samples for cancer-causing genetic mutations and delivering treatment that targets these mutations.

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Groundbreaking Advances In The Treatment Of Advanced Melanoma Led By Physician-Researchers At Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Memorial Sloan Kettering melanoma experts Jedd Wolchok and Paul Chapman presented two studies that further demonstrate the ongoing and successful research efforts taking place at the Center. Dr. Chapman presented findings on a new targeted therapy called vemurafenib — a drug that targets and inhibits BRAF — a mutation commonly found in melanoma. This phase III study showed that in previously untreated patients with metastatic disease, vermurafenib caused significant shrinkage in tumors that carried the BRAF mutation and patients lived longer than those who received standard chemotherapy. Dr. Wolchok presented data on ipilimumab, a drug recently approved by the FDA for the treatment of metastatic melanoma. That study showed that ipilimumab plus chemotherapy in patients with metastatic disease — who did not receive prior treatment — lived longer than those who received chemotherapy alone.

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