Despite advances in treatment, the greatest gains in cancer control are achieved through prevention
The translation of basic cancer research on cell growth to the clinic has resulted in a paradigm shift in cancer treatment by providing new therapeutic targets. The initial successes — the monoclonal antibodies trastuzumab and rituximab — have improved the survival of patients with breast cancer and lymphoma, as has the small molecule imatinib mesylate in chronic myeloid leukaemia; all have less toxicity than conventional cytotoxics.1 The challenge is to fund these new high-cost drugs. Although targeted drugs can be limited to the specific patient populations expressing the appropriate target, further funding is then required to screen patients for those targets. New models of cost- and risk-sharing between governments and industry must evolve to pay for these developments.
Publication of your online response is subject to the Medical Journal of Australia's editorial discretion. You will be notified by email within five working days should your response be accepted.