prof. Dr. Fevzi Altuntaş: A new era begins with new ‘tumor agnostic’ cancer drugs!

Saying that 46 percent of oncology treatments today are targeted treatments, Ankara Hematology and Oncology Association President Prof. Dr. Fevzi Altuntaş stated that 73 percent of cancer drugs under development are personalized treatments. Emphasizing that targeted therapies significantly increase survival rates, Prof. Dr. Altuntaş noted that while chemotherapy responses are between 30-50% in most cancer types, the response rates are up to 80% in personalized targeted therapies. prof. Dr. Altuntaş explained that there are advances in the “agnostic treatment approach” that prevents cells with the potential to cause cancer, regardless of the organ from which they originate, before they become cancerous.

Organized with international participation as a hybrid on the occasion of “February 4 World Cancer Day” Ankara Hematology and Oncology Days” was hosted by Ankara Society of Hematology and Oncology. At the press conference held within the scope of the meeting, the Founding President of the Association Prof. Dr. Fevzi Altuntaş, Ankara Hematology and Oncology Association Vice President Prof. Dr. Berna Öksüzoğlu, Secretary General of the Association Prof. Dr. Halil Başar, General Secretary of the Congress Prof. Dr. Mutlu Doğan and Congress Secretary Assoc. Dr. Sinan Dal joined.

prof. Dr. Fevzi Altuntaş: The ‘fingerprint era’ has begun in hematological cancers

Speaking at the press conference, Prof. Dr. Emphasizing that the international slogan of this year’s World Cancer Day has been determined as “Close Your Cure Gap”, Altuntaş said, “We can reach a healthier future one day at a time! The motto of World Cancer Day is ‘One day in 21 days to challenge cancer.’ We say talk to yourself at least once every 21 days. Talk to yourself at least every 21 days a day to make an effort to access cancer services to educate yourself to help eliminate cervical cancer to improve your personal health in 2022. “Enroll in cancer school to receive daily motivation and practical advice.”

agnostic approach

prof. Dr. Emphasizing that in addition to the proven methods used in cancer treatment, the concepts of tumor-agnostic or pan-cancer have emerged with newly defined biomarkers and newly developed drugs targeted to these biomarkers, and noted that this can be defined as the transition from “personalized medicine” to “sensitive medicine”.

prof. Dr. Altuntaş gave the following information: “Now, we have passed from a classification and treatment approach based only on the organ of origin and histological structure to a more complex molecular and genetic classification, typing and subtyping period that is more prominent in terms of treatment. It is a vital necessity for patients to benefit from molecular biomarker-based personalized medicine. The number of tissue agnostic (independent of the organ from which the cancer originates) cancer treatments is increasing day by day.

Thanks to our growing knowledge of cancer biology, we live in an exciting era of innovation for oncological treatments. Biomarker-focused drugs are being developed for more targeted therapies and a more sensitive oncology. Personalized medicine treatments, which are breakthroughs in the field of oncology, block oncogenic factors in cells, regardless of where they are located in the human body.”

prof. Dr. Fevzi Altuntaş: Not only treatment but also disease management is very important in cancer.

Underlining that the oncogenetic factors are determined at the molecular level, the approach to targeting cells directly has begun to take more place in research. Dr. Altuntaş emphasized that the drugs for this treatment approach, which is called “tumor agnostic”, can be considered the beginning of a new era in terms of medicine.

Stating that which approach, which biomarker and which technology will be used within the scope of good clinical practices in tumor-agnostic treatment approaches will be determined entirely in line with the diagnosis of the disease and the needs of the patient, Altuntaş continued as follows: “The choice of a tumor-agnostic diagnosis method for routine practice in the treatment of oncology patients is actually multi-step is a process. Instead of the classical tumor councils for both determining the need and interpreting the results of the tests and treating the patient, there is now a “Molecular Tumor” team, which includes a hematology, medical oncology specialist, surgical oncologist, medical geneticist, immunology specialist, medical pathology specialist and a bioinformatics team. Councils’ comprehensive cancer center will take place in the routine of cancer clinics.

Therefore, a coherent national strategy for personalized medicine and targeted therapies should be developed, genomic or comprehensive molecular profiling should be planned for each patient whenever possible, and whether more patients should be screened using a broadly targeted gene panel rather than small or whole genome tests.”

High success rate of personalized, targeted therapies

prof. Dr. Fevzi Altuntaş emphasized that the weight of targeted therapies in cancer is gradually increasing and explained that the survival rates have increased significantly. “While chemotherapy responses are between 30-50% in most cancer types, treatment-related response rates are up to 80% with personalized targeted therapies,” said Prof. Dr. Altuntaş pointed to the importance of high-quality gene tests, which are necessary for the implementation of personalized treatments.

A life without lymphoma is possible with stem cell transplantation and drug therapy

Hematological cancers can be treated like a chronic disease

prof. Dr. Stating that hematological cancers known as leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma can be treated like a chronic disease with smart treatments, Altuntaş said, “The future focuses on the immune system, stem cells, cells and genetic basis. Patient-based treatments are discussed rather than disease. Treatments in hematological oncology are individualized. Because, even among patients with the same type of disease, significant differences can be observed in terms of clinical course, response to treatment and quality of response. The aim should be to give safer, more effective drugs and treatments, which we call ‘individualized treatment’, according to the genetic characteristics and individual needs of the patient.

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