National Cancer Institute head talks about a cure for cancer

Below is actually a transcript of in which part of his conversation with CNBC:

Sharpless: “in which’s a difficult thing in our field; there’s been This particular sort of pendulum. I think early on we had some success inside war on cancer in addition to sort of back inside 1970s This particular rapid success against pediatric leukemia, in addition to there was This particular sense in which everything was going to be in which easy, we’re going to cure — I think the War on Cancer Act was 1971 in addition to the prediction was we’d have in which done by the nation’s bicentennial, 1976 — didn’t work out in which way (laughs).

So I think there was This particular group of physicians who came up in an era where we used to tell patients, ‘We got in which all; we cured you, you’re fine,’ in addition to then in which was manifestly untrue. in addition to I think the pendulum went back to the some other side, of, ‘Wow, we truly — we can cure a few things — leukemia, lymphoma, testis cancer — however we are not truly able to cure most advanced solid tumors.’ in addition to to use the word ‘cure’ around a patient with metastatic lung cancer, metastatic colon cancer or metastatic breast cancer was not a Great thing to do.

in addition to in which’s the generation I was trained in. in addition to I think we collectively became very sheepish about using the C-word, or calling in which a War on Cancer, or any of those things, in addition to trying to manage expectations in addition to walk people back, in addition to understand in which advances in cancer could be very meaningful if they make you live a year longer, even if they don’t cure you. So, creating people understand in which there are intermediates between doing nothing in addition to curing.

however right now, I personally feel in which maybe we’ve gone too far to in which direction. Where we become so unwilling to talk about in which in which I think we’re confusing our patients, in addition to more importantly to me, as the NCI director, I think we’re confusing our funders. Because they’re not exactly sure what we’re trying to do; if we’re not honest about the fact in which we’re trying to cure cancer, then why should they give us all This particular money? So I want to be very clear in which in which’s the goal.

in addition to not only is actually in which the goal, in which’s not a totally unreasonable goal. I am not going to predict the end of cancer any time soon; in which’s a complicated, heterogeneous problem. however I think in which’s accurate to say in which we are curing people with horrible metastatic solid tumors today in which we weren’t curing even all 5 years ago. So there’s no doubt there’s been progress.”

Which cancers might he point to? Metastatic melanoma, advanced lung cancer, in addition to cancers having a specific genetic marker known as MSI-high. however Sharpless cautioned in which, just because he thinks in which’s appropriate to use the word “cure” in some settings, there’s still a ways to go.

Sharpless: “I do think we have to be clear — if cancer is actually 10,000 diseases, we need 10,000 cures. So we’re not going to have a magic bullet in which works on everything tomorrow. We’re going to make progress here in addition to not there — in addition to by the way, This particular is actually one of the problems with the messaging. Because, while I think in which’s fair to say we’re creating tremendous progress, in addition to there’s a lot of excitement at This particular ASCO in addition to every big cancer meeting right now, in which is actually not uniform. So we do have some cancers where our progress has been modest.”

There, Sharpless named pancreatic cancer, glioblastoma, childhood brain cancer in addition to liver cancer, where he noted mortality is actually on the rise inside U.S. in addition to he acknowledged in which, even inside cancers where he thinks in which’s appropriate to start using the C-word, treatments still don’t work for some patients.

Sharpless: “In those areas where we’ve made less progress, in which’s often not for lack of trying. The biology is actually unpredictable in addition to much harder.”

however he said he’s optimistic progress will be made in those areas too, citing as one example an NCI-funded program focusing on the most common target found in pancreatic cancer, called the RAS Initiative.

Sharpless: “I think we’re seeing many clinical trials of agents right now in humans in which come out of in which more nuanced, structural biology-based paradigm. I have no idea if any of these things will work, however I’m hopeful.”

in addition to in which might be an instance in which anyone might be happy to use the C-word.

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