Dr. David Spigel on Fox News Discussing Novel Therapies at ASCO® 2015 – Sarah Cannon


(whooshing) (Happening Now) (The Doctor Is In) – Well the doctor is in
as the Biden family mourns the loss of the Vice President’s son Beau who died over the weekend of brain cancer, at just 46 years of age. The largest cancer research conference is now underway in Chicago highlighting some new trends in cancer treatment that some are calling game changers. Dr. David Spigel is Director of the Lung Cancer Research Program at Sarah Cannon Research Institute he’s attending the conference
and he joins us now. Dr. Spigel I’d just like
to ask you for a moment I know you didn’t treat
Beau but this headline certainly caught a lot of us off guard, here he was so young and we did know about some health issues that he had but to know that he
passed away so suddenly of brain cancer came as a big shock. What was your reaction to the news? What does that tell us about the progression of cancer today? – First let me express my sincere sympathy to the Biden Family,
very sorry for that loss. Really terrible news, I
think for the country. As you point out it’s
an aggressive cancer, I don’t know the details, I don’t think we all know the details of
his care, but we know that he had a courageous
battle with cancer. It’s a difficult cancer
to fight as you say. Our tools; chemotherapy
and radiation and surgery can be effective but these cancers tend to come back and tend
to be hard for patients. What’s exciting as you say, is right now in Chicago
I’m fortunate to attend the annual international meeting, the ASCO meeting looking
at novel therapies, breakthroughs across tumor types. And as you point out there’s a
lot of reasons to be excited. One of the big stories. – Well let me just stop you there because let’s just take a look at the trends, I know there are so
many different settings coming out of that meeting but one of the trends that seems to be coming out and the New York Times is calling it one of the greatest
advances that we’ve seen in years when it come to cancer treatment. Is this emergence of immunotherapy. Of getting our own bodies
to fight the disease. Tell us a little bit about that. – Yeah that’s correct. This has been a story we’ve been a part of for the last several years and we’re seeing the
fruits of that research coming forth at this conference. So, we’re seeing this
idea that you can use the body’s own immune
system to fight cancer. We’ve seen major
breakthroughs in lung cancer. we’ve seen breakthroughs in melanoma, a very difficult aggressive skin cancer. These results have come
out these past few days. Quite exciting, but what’s
even more exciting is we’re seeing these
benefits start to show up in other cancers that we
never expected; liver cancer, breast cancer, lymphomas, bladder cancer. A very exciting time for
patients and families. – So why doesn’t our body
automatically fight cancer? What is it about the
disease that requires us, it seems in these studies, to get an outside source of medicine that will help trigger our body’s
response to fight it off. – Well the simple answer is; we’re still trying to figure that out. But we’re starting to learn more about the kinds of patients who
may respond to therapies. There may be therapies where it doesn’t matter what
kind of cancer you have, or what kind of background you have in terms of your own health, it may just be that
this therapy helps you. It appears clear that
there are some situations where cancers respond to these therapies and some where they don’t. But we’re making progress
in better understanding who those patients are. It’s really a very
exciting time in oncology. – How is it different than
the traditional treatments? And when I say traditional, I’m talking more
specifically chemotherapy. Because I think most of us think of chemotherapy, if someone has cancer as the major treatment they would receive. – Yeah, that’s a great question. I don’t want to say that
chemotherapy is going away or radiation or surgery. Those are vital tools in fighting
cancer but very different. These are not therapies that traditionally cause side effects, the immunotherapies. These are not things that usually make you lose your hair, make your blood counts get low, make you feel sick, these are therapies by and large that are very well tolerated. Many patients don’t even
know they’re getting them. I don’t want to say that
their entirely safe, there are toxicities we need to watch for. Things that are related
to the immune system, but we’re learning about
these side effects. Learning how to manage them. It’s really a game changer in how we manage patients with cancer. – That is exciting news to know that there are some advances being made, especially at a time when we’re dealing with another big national
story about a loss. Dr. Spigel, great to
have you on the program, look forward to having you
back. Thank you very much. – Thanks a lot.

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