9 posts from October, 2017

Lung cancer research and treatment roundup: The latest from PatientsLikeMe Research Scientist Urvi

Posted October 17th, 2017 by

Sifting through cancer news and keeping tabs on the latest research can be tricky. So we turned to Urvi Mujumdar – a senior research scientist at PatientsLikeMe who specializes in oncology studies – to break down the latest research and treatments options for people with different types of lung cancer.

Ongoing research, at a glance

“Research in lung cancer – non-small cell, small cell and carcinoid tumors – is happening at all stages, from prevention to treatment,” Urvi says. Here’s a closer look at what researchers are currently exploring:

  • Environmental causes (beyond tobacco smoke exposure) that may increase the risk for lung cancer
  • The impact of healthy eating habits on preventing or reducing the risk for lung cancer
  • New diagnostic methods for cancer screening (see the American Cancer Society’s summary of possible new tools for diagnosis, plus recent research on “liquid biopsies” or follow-up blood tests for cancer detection)
  • Therapeutic advancements for various forms of lung cancer treatment, including surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and targeted therapy. For example, researchers are looking into the use of image guided radiation therapy (IGRT), which allows for more careful targeting of radiation therapy.

Trends in clinical trials

Many clinical trials have an increased focus on the molecular composition of tumors, specific genetic mutations, and the role these mutations play in the progression of cancer and response to various treatments, Urvi says.

“Another exciting area of research is in the world of Immuno-oncology, a specific type of treatment that focuses on using the body’s own immune system to destroy cancer cells,” she says.

Clinical trials also include new treatments that are being tested in Phase I, II and III studies to understand what dose will work in humans. (Hear about PatientsLikeMe member David’s experience participating in a clinical trial for lung cancer and try our clinical trial finder to search for research opportunities near you.)

New treatments for lung cancer

Over the past couple years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved multiple new treatments for lung cancer. These treatments include (hint: click on the links for treatment reports from PatientsLikeMe members):

  • New targeted therapies for mutations in the ALK gene (Alecensa or alectinib, Alunbrig or brigatinib)
  • New therapies for mutations in the EGFR gene (Tagrisso or osimertinib)
  • New immuno-oncology or immunotherapy drugs (Opdivo or nivolumab, Portrazza or necitumumab, Keytruda or pembrolizumab, Tecentriq or atezolizumab).

Most recently, the FDA approved the combination of two drugs (Tafinlar or dabrafenib with Mekinist or trametinib) for patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with a specific mutation on the BRAF gene. Also, a diagnostic target test called Oncomine has been approved to specifically test for this mutation, and others on the ALK, ROS1, and EGFR genes.

Check out even more treatment information and patient reports on the “Treatments” tab, and join the community today to connect with others who are living with lung cancer.

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Team of Advisors member Laura takes over the PatientsLikeMe Instagram for World Mental Health Day

Posted October 12th, 2017 by

In honor of World Mental Health Day, we asked PatientsLikeMe member Laura (thisdiva99) to take over our Instagram feed for the day. Laura is a professional opera singer, Massachusetts native, a member of the PatientslikeMe Team of Advisors, and is living with bipolar disorder. She gave us a glimpse into a day in her life, Check out the images and captions below to see what she shared.

Living with bipolar
Hello my Instagram compatriots! Laura here. Some people start the day with hearty oatmeals, or eggs fortified with kale. I start my day with a champion #bipolar breakfast of vitamin supplements and mood stabilizers… then I can eat my own breakfast 30 minutes after. For me, supplements are super important to incorporate with my meds. Talk to your doc about it to see if they could work for you!
Living with bipolar
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With my trusty steed Corolla, I conquer the day’s doctor’s appointments. On a good day, I can keep my ride in the driveway; on other days I travel to multiple towns/cities to see psychiatrists, therapists, endocrinologists, and the like. I also incorporate a yoga class or visit to the gym as I can. For me, treating the body as a whole is the key to moving toward a stable feeling.
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Living with bipolar
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Meds require rehydration, therapy requires new worksheets to be completed, my funny bone requires Dwight Schrute, and my inner-warrior requires Big Papi by my side!
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Living with bipolar
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Books act as a balm for my weary, ever-battling soul. On depressive days, I cling to romance novels, especially @LisaKleypas! On warrior days, I move between science texts and adventure series (LOVE the Fever series by @karenmariemoningofficial). There’s always a new cookbook in the pile, as I try to find new ways of eating that may not make my brain and body hurt so much.
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Living with bipolar
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The subject of my final post is all about my rock. My husband is my rock, my love, and my protector. He has seen me at the best and worst points of my life. He’s taken me to the hospital when I was suicidal. He’s watched me perform with world-famous orchestras. He’s quietly sat in the corner of a James Taylor rehearsal until I was finished singing, because I couldn’t drive and he was my ride. (Hooray for ECT!) Ultimately, he is there regardless of how my illness manifests. We are a team of sass and strength, and I am so lucky to be a part of it. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little glimpse into a day in my life. Please go to www.coffeeandlithium.wordpress.com for more! Be well!
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