Will 2020 mark the beginning of a blood cancer revolution?
This article originally appeared on Linkedin on January 30 2020.
For me, the holidays are about resting, recharging and enjoying some quality time with friends and family – and I’m sure many of you feel exactly the same way. Yet coming so soon after the annual ASH congress, I often find this period of the year to be one of contemplation as well. A time to reflect on the previous 12 months and, crucially, look forward to the journey ahead.
This year was no exception. Indeed, if anything, I left ASH 2019 feeling more optimistic about the future of Haemo-oncology than ever before. I’m pleased to say that sense of excitement continued to build during the festive break too and it’s already driving me to help accelerate Janssen’s work in the treatment of blood cancers during the coming year.
It’s a similar feeling to the one I had back in the 1990s while part of a team investigating breakthrough treatments for HIV. Back then, an HIV diagnosis was invariably a death sentence but, through the work done during that period, it’s since been transformed into a manageable chronic condition.
Of course, we have some way to go to match those successes when it comes to diseases like Multiple Myeloma. Yet ASH gave us a thrilling glimpse of an emerging generation of precision medicines and cell therapies that could revolutionize the treatment of blood cancer in the same way antiretroviral therapies have done for HIV. Some may even hold the key to unlocking a long-term cure.
The extraordinary, life-changing potential of one of those precision medicines, CAR-T, is something I was proud to have the chance to write about in more detail for The Pharma Letter this month. You can read the article here in which I also discuss the findings of some compelling studies unveiled during the ASH congress.
As we enter a new decade, I truly believe the field of Haematology has never been at a more exciting point. Could the 2020's mark the beginning of a new era of better, smarter, more personalized medicines? Will we see a genuine transformation in what a blood cancer diagnosis means? And, most importantly, are we about to step into a future in which patients and their families are able to enjoy longer, happier, healthier lives together?
I, for one, believe we are. And I can’t wait to be part of it.