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SOURCE Debbie's Dream Foundation: Curing Stomach Cancer
Making a Difference Through Scientific Research and Discovery
BOSTON, July 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Debbie's Dream Foundation: Curing Stomach Cancer's Medical Advisory Board Member Adam Bass, MD, serves as co-Chair of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Gastric Cancer Project, Director for Translational Research for the Center for Esophageal and Gastric Cancer at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and is an associate member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. The TCGA Gastric Cancer Project is a federally funded initiative that involves large international groups of researchers and centers that are cataloging genomic characteristics in gastric (stomach) cancer. The project, which announced its findings in Nature today, found that there are four main subtypes of stomach cancer. This revolutionary finding of gastric cancer subtypes is expected to lead to quicker improvements in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of stomach cancer.
According to the World Health Organization, worldwide stomach cancer killed 723,000 people in 2012 and is the third leading cancer killer. The American Cancer Society estimates that 22,220 cases will be diagnosed in the United States in 2014, with about 10,990 deaths. Most gastric cancer patients are diagnosed at advanced stages, so treatment is difficult and complex. For stage IV patients, the chance of surviving five years is only four percent, which makes it one of the most deadly cancers in the United States. In addition, stomach cancer is on the rise in the United States in young people ages 25-39. However, the new TCGA gastric cancer classifications promise to advance clinical research to develop improved therapies for this deadly and difficult to treat disease.
In addition, these new findings will assist in the development and advancement of clinical trials, which are the primary means through which new cancer treatments are developed, tested and approved for use. Clinical trials are essential for new drug development; the new subtypes found by the TCGA Project can help develop improved therapies. Stomach cancer treatments, which are currently very limited, can only advance through clinical trials.
"We have found robust groups of gastric cancers that share key molecular features. More exciting, within these cancers we frequently find genomic alterations leading to predicted activation of key genes and pathways that are targeted by existing or emerging therapies. These data can greatly help us design new clinical trials and help select the potentially optimal trial for individual patients," said Bass. "There is an urgent need for testing new therapies because these are aggressive cancers, and the five-year relative survival rate for stomach cancer is only approximately 25 percent," added Bass.
Clinical trials can only succeed if there are enough patients who enroll. Therefore, Debbie's Dream Foundation: Curing Stomach Cancer (DDF) plays an important part in assisting with increased enrollment in clinical trials. DDF announced its new Clinical Trials Matching Service in partnership with Emerging Med. DDF assists hundreds of stomach cancer patients each year through its free Patient Resource Education Program (PREP). As part of the PREP program, DDF provides this free Clinical Trials Matching Service. Many patients have trouble locating the appropriate clinical trial for them, so DDF's Clinical Trials Matching Service makes the process easier and more understandable for these patients.
Currently, numerous trials are underway in cancer centers across the country and the world, directed at improving the treatment and outcome for stomach, esophageal, and GE junction cancer patients at all stages. With the addition of the TCGA subtype information, these clinical trials will become even better. DDF's goal is to educate all stomach cancer patients about the appropriate clinical trial for them.
Debbie's Dream Foundation is contributing to the fight against stomach cancer on many fronts. "We are very proud of our DDF Medical Advisory Board Member Adam Bass and his leadership on the TCGA project," said DDF President and Founder Debbie Zelman. "This data can change stomach cancer clinical trials from being a one-size-fits-all approach to a process that looks at each patient individually so as to develop the optimal treatment to target the patient's specific cancer subtype, thereby increasing the likelihood of successfully treating that patient's cancer."
Every cancer patient should ask about clinical trials and should consider being treated in a facility which participates in research studies. While not every patient will end up enrolling in a trial, it is critical to be aware of the importance of these studies in advancing the treatment for stomach, esophageal, and GE junction cancer and to have access to an appropriate trial if needed. For more information on clinical trials and to find clinical trials, simply visit http://www.debbiesdream.org/portal/clinical-trials.
About Debbie's Dream Foundation: Curing Stomach Cancer:
Debbie's Dream Foundation: Curing Stomach Cancer is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about stomach cancer, advancing funding for research, and providing education and support internationally to patients, families, and caregivers. DDF seeks as its ultimate goal to make the cure for stomach cancer a reality. DDF was the first stomach cancer organization and now has 22 chapters in the US, Canada and Germany with thousands of supporters and volunteers. DDF helps patients worldwide through a free Patient Resource Education Program (PREP) and a Clinical Trials Matching Service and Mentor Program. DDF has a world renowned Medical Advisory Board; hosts free education events internationally; advocates for increased federal funding for stomach cancer research; and directly funds research. For more information about DDF, visit www.DebbiesDream.org.
About The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA):
The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) is a comprehensive and coordinated effort to accelerate our understanding of the molecular basis of cancer through the application of genome analysis technologies, including large-scale genome sequencing. TCGA is a joint effort of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), two of the 27 Institutes and Centers of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. For more information, visit http://cancergenome.nih.gov/.
Debbie's Dream Foundation: Curing Stomach Cancer
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