GCF Newsletter : January 2018

Promising GI Developments from ASCO

Medical experts met to share groundbreaking research at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) Gastrointestinal Cancer Symposium in San Francisco last week. New data presented included research from a very early clinical trial of margetuximab and pembrolizumab for patients with advanced gastric cancer, where researchers are “…encouraged by the tolerability and anti-tumor activity of this novel, chemotherapy-free regimen…” Read more here.
Data shared at the 2018 Gastrointestinal Cancer Symposium also included research that found hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), which delivers chemotherapy directly to cancer cells in the abdomen, increasing survival for gastric cancer patients with peritoneal metastasis. Read more here.

Insights on Evolving Immunotherapy Treatments

Oncology Live has many great resources worth checking out this month. Watch this video for more on the recent trend of microsatellite instability (MSI) testing in gastric cancer, and how patients who are MSI-high have a better chance of responding to some immunotherapy treatments. Also in Oncology Live is another video for an overview of options beyond first line treatment for gastric cancer as well as a gastric cancer immunotherapy refresher.

Partnerships for Awareness

In December, the Gastric Cancer Foundation joined with Lilly Oncology and other patient advocacy organizations to raise awareness for gastric cancer. A short segment aired on the nationally syndicated show, “The Doctors,”focused on the disease and its warning signs as well as the dietary needs of gastric cancer patients.
A social media poll conducted in conjunction with the TV segment involved more than 31,000 people to select the next recipe to be featured on stomachcancerwellness.com.
Thanks to Lilly Oncology, for its partnership and generous support, and thank you to everyone who participated in this effort. Read more here.
In February, we’ll be participating in another new and exciting partnership to raise awareness and offer additional resources for patients. Follow us on facebook and twitter to find out more later this month!

GCF Board Member on Data Sharing

Board member, Lincoln Nadauld, MD, PhD, Executive Director of Precision Medicine and Genomics at Intermountain Healthcare, was recently featured in national media emphasizing the importance of data sharing.
“If I, in Utah, can understand how patients in Seattle, Boston, Palo Alto, and Houston are being treated and how they’re responding to treatments in real time, then it will help my patient that I am going to see tomorrow,” says Dr. Nadauld.
That commitment to information-sharing is key to the Gastric Cancer Foundation’s support for the Gastric Cancer Registry, which Dr. Nadauld helped establish at Stanford Cancer Center. The Registry collects both patient data and tissue samples to conduct significant research to advance treatments for gastric cancer patients. In 2018, a new web portal will make data accessible to patients and researchers throughout the country and around the globe.

New Board Member is Science Journalist and Author

Arlene Weintraub, an award-winning journalist and author with 20 years of experience writing about healthcare, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, is the newest board member of the Gastric Cancer Foundation. The New Jersey resident regularly contributes to the Foundation’s social media posta and helped launched the newsletter. Her book, Heal: The Vital Role of Dogs in the Search for Cancer Cures ( ECW Press, 2015), brings to life the world of comparative oncology and the many ways that dogs are helping fight the war on cancer. Arlene lost her sister, a mother of four, to gastric cancer earlier this decade.
Weintraub’s freelance pieces have been published by Forbes.com, the New York Times, US News & World Report, New Scientist, Fierce Markets, and other media outlets. She is excited to be joining the board and helping advance awareness about the disease and research for better treatments for patients.

In Memoriam

The Foundation was saddened to learn of the recent passing of Debbie Zelman, founder of Debbie’s Dream Foundation. Ms. Zelman was diagnosed with stage IV gastric cancer nearly ten years ago, around the same time that our own founder, JP Gallagher, received his diagnosis. Debbie and JP were among the first patients to recognize the need to mobilize others to provide better support and information for people with gastric cancer. We mourn her loss, honor her work, and rededicate ourselves to the search for a cure.
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