“Don’t Guess. Test.” Campaign Aims to Educate Patients About Comprehensive Genomic Testing in Lung Cancer
The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF), in collaboration with Foundation Medicine and Friends of Cancer Research, and in partnership with many advocacy organizations, today launched the “Don’t Guess. Test.” campaign to expand awareness and educate patients about precision medicine and the importance of comprehensive genomic testing in lung cancer. Through extensive grassroots and social media efforts, the campaign’s 16 lung cancer advocacy organizations are working throughout the country on this important collaborative initiative. Campaign partners include: American Lung Association, Cancer Care, Caring Ambassadors Program, Dusty Joy Foundation, Free Me, Free to Breathe, Lung Cancer Initiative of North Carolina, Lung Cancer Alliance, Lung Cancer Circle of Hope, Lung Cancer Foundation of America, Rexanna’s Foundation, United Against Lung Cancer, Upstage Lung Cancer and We Wish Foundation.
The “Don’t Guess. Test.” Campaign provides patients and their physicians with information about the rapidly evolving genomic understanding of lung cancer, targeted therapy options and comprehensive genomic profiling. The campaign aims to empower patients with lung cancer and their caregivers to initiate a dialogue with their physicians about comprehensive genomic profiling and its potential to expand treatment options for the patient.
“There are as many types of lung cancer as there are patients with lung cancer,” said Bonnie Addario, founder of ALCF and stage 3B lung cancer survivor. “We now understand lung cancer is unique to each patient and tailored treatments are more effective and less toxic. With the rapid developments being made in targeted treatment options available to patients with lung cancer, chemotherapy, radiation and surgery are no longer the only treatment options. Patients need to know about all the options that are available to them.”
224,000 new cases of lung cancer are expected to be diagnosed in 2014 and it remains the leading cause of cancer death. More people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast and prostate cancer, combined1. Targeted therapies have proven to be effective in many lung cancers and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines now recommend eight targeted therapies appropriate for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
“Comprehensive genomic profiling results gave me hope. I was able to get a targeted therapy based on my genomic profile that worked for my cancer type,” said Joyce Stern, stage 4 lung cancer survivor. She was first diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer in 2011 and was initially treated with cytotoxic chemotherapy. After her cancer recurred, she underwent comprehensive genomic profiling and was given a targeted therapy that resulted in a positive response.
Traditional testing for targeted therapy often requires sequential testing for each possible molecular marker, but limited tissue available in lung cancer cases forces selective testing or requires patients to undergo additional, invasive procedures. With a comprehensive approach to genomic profiling, or identifying targetable molecular markers, physicians do not need to limit testing to select markers and can be sure all possibilities have been considered.
“Genomic testing is a driving force behind a new wave of precision medicine for patients, and at the forefront of promising new clinical trials,” said Ryan Hohman, Managing Director of Friends of Cancer Research. “This campaign brings much needed awareness to the significance of patients knowing their genomic alterations, which will allow them, along with their doctors, to make the best treatment decision possible.”
In the era of precision medicine, where the most effective treatment option may be informed by the unique genomic changes driving a patient’s cancer, proper testing can minimize the time, money and energy spent on ineffective therapies. Comprehensive genomic profiling may reveal a treatment option that allows patients to avoid the side effects of cytotoxic standard treatments and ensure that the targeted therapy with highest potential for success is selected. A comprehensive approach to genomic profiling also ensures that information for treatment selection is provided in an efficient manner, with no added time or cost for multiple tests or biopsies.
David P. Carbone, M.D., president-elect of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer said, “Lung cancer can't be adequately managed today without up-front comprehensive molecular testing. Anything less compromises patient quality of life and outcomes.”
“Our understanding of cancer and lung cancer specifically has changed dramatically in the last decade, from a single disease, to a diverse set of diseases defined by their underlying genomic drivers,” said Vincent Miller, M.D., chief medical officer of Foundation Medicine. “The diversity of genomic alterations found to drive lung cancer and the positive outcomes commonly resulting from use of the respective targeted therapy means that lung cancer is a disease that must be addressed by a precision medicine approach, and one where a ‘one-size-fits-all’ standard of care is no longer appropriate. A comprehensive approach to genomic profiling in lung cancer is particularly appropriate because it enables testing for all possible targetable alterations from a single, often limited tissue sample and thus efficiently and accurately characterizes the genomic alterations unique to each tumor.”
About The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation
The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) is one of the largest philanthropies (patient-founded, patient-focused, and patient-driven) devoted exclusively to eradicating Lung Cancer through research, early detection, education, and treatment. The Foundation's goal is to work with a diverse group of physicians, organizations, industry partners, individuals, patients, survivors, and their families to identify solutions and make timely and meaningful change and turn lung cancer into a chronically managed disease by 2023. The ALCF was established on March 1, 2006 as a 501c(3) non-profit organization and has raised more than $20 million for lung cancer research and related programs.
About Foundation Medicine
Foundation Medicine®FMI, -7.80% is a molecular information company dedicated to a transformation in cancer care in which treatment is informed by a deep understanding of the genomic changes that contribute to each patient’s unique cancer. The company’s clinical assays, FoundationOne® for solid tumors and FoundationOne® Heme for hematologic malignancies, sarcomas and pediatric cancers, each provide a fully informative genomic profile to identify the molecular alterations in a patient’s tumor and match them with relevant targeted therapies and clinical trials. Foundation Medicine’s molecular information platform aims to improve day-to-day care for patients by serving the needs of clinicians, academic researchers and drug developers to help advance the science of molecular medicine in cancer. For more information, please visit www.FoundationMedicine.com or follow Foundation Medicine on Twitter(@FoundationATCG).
About Friends of Cancer Research
Friends of Cancer Research develops groundbreaking partnerships and creates a more open dialogue among both public and private sectors and tears down the barriers that stand in the way of conquering cancer. By collaborating with premier academic research centers, professional societies, and other advocacy organizations, Friends is able to accelerate innovation. For more information, please visit: http://www.focr.org or follow us on twitter @CancerResrch
Lung Cancer Alliance is proud to participate in this innovative and first of its kind effort to expedite research discoveries for those with squamous cell lung cancer.
-Laurie Fenton Ambrose, President and CEO, Lung Cancer Alliance