http://www.curetoday.com/publications/cure/2018/summer-2018/searching-for-understanding-about-ras-mutations-but-capitalizing-on-what-we-know
Searching for Understanding About RAS Mutations but Capitalizing on What We Know

MIKE HENNESSY, SR.

EVER SINCE THE HUMAN genome was fully mapped 15 years ago, our understanding of how to use drugs to stop cancer has skyrocketed. This groundbreaking project made it possible for scientists to identify the genes that are mutated in various cancers, the proteins these genes manufacture and the havoc the substances cause. That led to a bevy of targeted drugs that inhibit the action of these detrimental proteins, slowing or stopping the cancers to which they contribute.

So, imagine the frustration of the scientists who have spent years trying, without success, to develop treatments that target mutations in the RAS gene — the most common mutation across cancer types and the first one discovered, in 1982. Today, these experts are employing a variety of cutting-edge strategies to try to fill this deficit, and we describe their efforts in our cover story for this issue of CURE®. We also explain how the presence of these genetic glitches, although not treatable, can guide oncologists in making prognoses, deciding which drugs to avoid and recommending clinical trials.

Another article in this issue focuses on a scientific debate, the outcome of which could spare many patients unwarranted treatment.

Questions have been raised about whether a rise in the number of thyroid cancer cases is meaningful or simply a byproduct of modern screening techniques that detect harmless, slow-growing nodules that never would have been found in the past. When screening for other conditions also reveals lumps on the thyroid, the gland is often removed — in many cases, unnecessarily. Our article discusses when and why patients can opt for active surveillance instead of surgery.

Not to be missed: our feature story on cancer treatment behind bars. Inspired by our occasional receipt of letters from readers in prison who have cancer, we took an in-depth look at the systems and finances used to treat inmates, where the challenges lie and which aspects have stimulated debate or reform. It’s an excellent and comprehensive overview of a complicated issue.

Our chemo brain article, elsewhere in the magazine, likely will resonate with many, as it discusses not only ways to manage this problem but also the science behind its causes.

We round out the issue with an array of pieces that touch on different aspects of the cancer experience. An interview with television news anchor Robin Roberts focuses on the philosophy that carried her through battles against two kinds of cancer. An attorney explains how bankruptcy can provide a refuge for some who are overwhelmed by medical bills. And a Voices column reflects the benevolent worldview of Mister Rogers, through the recollections of a cancer survivor who enjoyed a correspondence with the children’s television star.

We’re certain you’ll find material in this issue of CURE® that not only interests you but also provides information you can apply during your cancer journey. We hope this collection of articles will bring you some moments of positivity and inspiration, as well.

As always, thank you for reading.

MIKE HENNESSY, SR.
Chairman and CEO
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