Sarah Cannon - April 15, 2016

This Saturday, Free to Breathe will host its second annual 5k Run/Walk in Nashville, Tenn. Sarah Cannon at Tennessee Oncology is the presenting sponsor at the event helping to unite the community to raise vital funds for research and support those facing lung cancer. David Spigel, MD, Chief Scientific Officer and Director the Lung Research Program at Sarah Cannon, shares his insights on the latest advancements in lung cancer care and the importance of supporting organizations in the community dedicated to improving the lives of patients.

Spigel What are the latest advancements in lung cancer treatment?

Lung cancer treatment has seen many exciting advancements over a short period of time. We now have two immunotherapies (pembrolizumab & nivolumab), which harness the body's own immune system to fight cancer, approved in the U.S. for patients with advanced lung cancer. Patients with a specific type of mutation of lung cancer (EGFR) are also now able to access a new treatment (osimertinib) which can help control their disease with minimal side effects. Another therapy (crizotinib) was also recently approved for a group of patients with a specific type of lung cancer (non-small cell lung cancer), who have not historically had many targeted treatments available to them.

Sarah Cannon has a number of ongoing clinical trials studying immunotherapies alone and in combination with other treatments for lung cancer patients.

What do we have to look forward to in 2016 in lung cancer research?

This year, we expect to learn more about immunotherapies , such as PD-1 and PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitors, which are being studied as a potential primary treatment for patients with advanced lung cancer.

Why are clinical trials important for the advancement of lung cancer care?

Immunotherapy trials are critical for developing the next wave of treatment options for our patients. These trials will help us to better identify the best treatment at the right time for those facing lung cancer. We look forward to continuing to discover new ways to advance these therapies for our patients.

What questions should patients ask when considering a clinical trial?

Clinical trials are the first step in advancing cancer care. It is important for patients to ask questions about their clinical trial options. I encourage patients to ask: What is the trial? Am I a good candidate? What should I expect? When can I expect a result? What are my other options?

Why do you support Free to Breathe?

Free to Breathe is an organization that brings together communities across the country to support those facing lung cancer. The organization helps raise vital funding for lung cancer research that can impact how we care for patients, and helps educate communities on how we can help support those fighting the disease.

For more information on lung cancer, visit the Sarah Cannon website.