Clinical Cancer Advances 2013: Annual Report on Progress Against Cancer from the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
A MESSAGE FROM ASCO'S PRESIDENT: Since its founding in 1964, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has been committed to improving cancer outcomes through research and the delivery of quality care. Research is the bedrock of discovering better treatments--providing hope to the millions of individuals who face a cancer diagnosis each year. The studies featured in "Clinical Cancer Advances 2013: Annual Report on Progress Against Cancer From the American Society of Clinical Oncology" represent the invaluable contributions of thousands of patients who participate in clinical trials and the scientists who conduct basic and clinical research. The insights described in this report, such as how cancers hide from the immune system and why cancers may become resistant to targeted drugs, enable us to envision a future in which cancer will be even more controllable and preventable. The scientific process is thoughtful, deliberate, and sometimes slow, but each advance, while helping patients, now also points toward new research questions and unexplored opportunities. Both dramatic and subtle breakthroughs occur so that progress against cancer typically builds over many years. Success requires vision, persistence, and a long-term commitment to supporting cancer research and training. Our nation's longstanding investment in federally funded cancer research has contributed significantly to a growing array of effective new treatments and a much deeper understanding of the drivers of cancer. But despite this progress, our position as a world leader in advancing medical knowledge and our ability to attract the most promising and talented investigators are now threatened by an acute problem: Federal funding for cancer research has steadily eroded over the past decade, and only 15% of the ever-shrinking budget is actually spent on clinical trials. This dismal reality threatens the pace of progress against cancer and undermines our ability to address the continuing needs of our patients. Despite this extremely challenging economic environment, we continue to make progress. Maintaining and accelerating that progress require that we keep our eyes on the future and pursue a path that builds on the stunning successes of the past. We must continue to show our policymakers the successes in cancer survival and quality of life (QOL) they have enabled, emphasizing the need to sustain our national investment in the remarkably productive US cancer research enterprise. We must also look to innovative methods for transforming how we care for-and learn from-patients with cancer. Consider, for example, that fewer than 5% of adult patients with cancer currently participate in clinical trials. What if we were able to draw lessons from the other 95%? This possibility led ASCO this year to launch CancerLinQ, a groundbreaking health information technology initiative that will provide physicians with access to vast quantities of clinical data about real-world patients and help achieve higher quality, higher value cancer care. As you read the following pages, I hope our collective progress against cancer over the past year inspires you. More importantly, I hope the pride you feel motivates you to help us accelerate the pace of scientific advancement. Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP President American Society of Clinical Oncology.