by Kelly McBride Folkers and Arthur L. Caplan, Division of Medical Ethics, NYU School of Medicine
Over the past decade, cancer research and treatment has advanced well beyond what scientists thought possible. The rhetoric around cancer certainly has changed, and breaking its fearful grip on patients and their loved ones seems more within reach than ever. Vice President Joe Biden’s chairmanship of the cancer “moonshot” project is just one example of our society’s hopefulness that we can, once and for all, beat cancer.
by Jonathan Agin, Editor, CKN Childhood Cancer Awareness and Advocacy
The good news is that scientists continue to find new genetic and molecular discoveries for many different forms of childhood cancers, especially those that are the most difficult to treat. The bad news is that these discoveries are far outpacing the development of therapies and clinical trials that actually shoot for these targets. Imagine for a moment that upon hearing your child has cancer (and not the “good” forms), you are told with a hint of hope that there have been some recent discoveries regarding new genetic mutations and targets for the specific type of cancer your child has. You breathe a small sigh of relief trusting that these scientific discoveries must equate to a treatment or clinical trial and ultimately a cure. In the next breathe unfortunately, the physician delivering this news to your family gingerly advises you that despite these amazing discoveries, there are no treatments currently available for these new discoveries. There are no clinical trials that are offered with this known target. The other shoe drops and you are told that statistically your child has a year to live. This is not a dream; this is the reality of an international crisis that impacts upon children with cancer all across the globe.