Drs. Noelle LoConte, Randall Kimple are specialty editors of national report on cancer advances

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Randall Kimple, MD, PhDNoelle Loconte, MDNoelle LoConte, MD, associate professor, Hematology, Oncology and Pallative Care, and colleague Randall Kimple, MD, PhD, associate professor, Department of Human Oncology, both pictured, are among 18 specialty editors of Clinical Care Advances 2020: Annual Report on Progress Against Cancer From the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

The report highlights the most important clinical research advances of the past year, identifies priority areas where ASCO believes future research efforts should be focused, and calls for continues federal funding of cancer research.

ASCO selected Refinement of Surgical Treatment of Cancer as its 2020 Advance of the Year. Additional major advances included:

  • Vaccines against human papillomavirus that reduce cervical cancer risk in real-world settings;
  • Biomarker-driven treatment approaches for metastatic pancreatic cancer;
  • Combinations of different types of therapies that may extend survival without increasing toxicity; and
  • Targeted therapies for patients with difficult-to-treat cancers.

ASCO also identified eight priorities for future research efforts:

  • Identify strategies that predict response and resistance to immunotherapies
  • Limit extent of surgery by optimizing systemic therapy
  • Increase precision medicine research and treatment approaches in pediatric and other rare cancers
  • Optimize care for older adults with cancer
  • Increase equitable access to cancer clinical trials
  • Reduce adverse consequences of cancer treatment
  • Reduce obesity’s impact on cancer incidence and outcomes 
  • Better identify premalignant lesions and predict when treatment is needed

The report explained that federally funded research plays a pivotal role in preventing, diagnosing, treating, and even curing cancer. Nearly a quarter of the studies highlighted in the report were supported in part by the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute.