#LCSM Chat Topic 03/07: Biomarker Magicians (or, Why We Love Pathologists)

Diagnosing the type of lung cancer from a tissue or liquid biopsy is absolutely critical to selecting treatment and determining the patient’s prognosis. However, for many lung cancer patients and their families, the role of tumor tissue in their diagnosis is a mystery. What happens to tissue collected in a biopsy? How is it analyzed? What is involved in getting helpful answers from biomarker testing? The specialized doctors responsible for answering these questions are pathologists.  They identify any lung cancer cells in the biopsied tissue, and guide the patient’s biomarker testing. Unfortunately,… Read More

#LCSM Chat 11/29: What’s a cancer model, and why should I care?

Once your take cancer cells out of a living body, the cancer cells die, right?  So how researchers study cancer? One way researchers study cancer is by using “cancer models.”  Cancer models are clumps of living cancer cells that exist either in a lab dish (see image above), or in animal models such as mice. Sometimes these models also include other living cells from the host environment.  It’s not exactly the same as studying a living cancer in its human host, but it does allow researchers time to study the biology of a cancer… Read More

#LCSM Chat Topic 3/22: Slicing the Pie–How Can Lung Cancer Patient Groups, Clinicians, and Researchers Best Work Together?

Lung cancer management has shifted from a broadly defined process to one increasingly recognized as narrow subgroups that have distinct patterns of cancer biology and optimal treatments.  The first patient group to splinter into a separate branch of management was the approximately 10% of people with EGFR mutation-positive NSCLC, and the treatment options for them continue to become deeper and more complex as we gain more active agents and struggle with enviable problems like the best sequencing and protection of the brain against metastatic spread. Other “driver mutations” such as ALK and… Read More