Peter Kapitein, an unstoppable Dutch cancer patient advocate who leads Inspire2Live, has written a wonderful article illustrating the need and importance of patient-doctor communication. As a cancer survivor he advocates a strong partnership between patients, their supporters and physicians. Acknowledging the need for patients to be active participants, he describes the role doctors should play:
“There is no denying that informing a patient diagnosed with cancer of his situation and the possible treatment is among a medical doctor’s less enviable duties. But no matter how difficult, a duty it is. So, how best to go about it? Well, a good start is, as I once heard a young physician put it, to “look into the patient’s eyes to see if your words are being understood. If they tell the opposite, then start explaining again, using different words.” After each explanation, interview your patient to see if he has understood so well that he will be able to inform his dear ones back home. Meanwhile, try not to think of the other patients in the waiting room. They will just have to wait a bit longer. And they will not mind once they know you need more time as you are more focussed on the patient than on the disease.
A doctor must endeavour to be as explicit as possible when informing a patient of his condition, no matter how unfavourable this information is. His chance of surviving or the need to undergo a severe treatment is no information any patient should be left in the dark about. Moreover, a patient has a right to know what to expect in order to be able to prepare for a treatment or the few months left him. But it is not just the doctor who is responsible for transparency towards his patient. The latter, too, has a duty to get to the bottom of his situation. And if he is unable to do so himself, he should bring along someone close to him to ask the relevant questions.”
A PDF of the full article is available for download.
Sage Bionetworks and AstraZeneca have begun an exciting cancer collaboration using advanced computational modeling. The goal is to develop a deeper understanding of cancer to help better match patients with appropriate treatments and might one day lead to new cancer therapeutics.
Cancer is a major cause of mortality globally; accounting for 7.4 million (or 13%) of all deaths in 2004. The World Health Organization estimates the incidence of cancer to continue rising to reach an estimated 9.2 million deaths in 2015, driving the critical need for novel therapies to reach patients quickly and efficiently as well as better ways to match patients with treatments.
The partnership will combine Sage Bionetworks’ expertise in computer models of disease genetics with AstraZeneca’s extensive knowledge and expertise of oncology including access to data on AstraZeneca’s compounds. It will focus on investigating regulatory pathways among different cancers using large coherent cancer genomic datasets and predictive disease models developed at Sage Bionetworks. This will potentially provide data-driven rationales for prioritizing therapeutic targets for developing new insights to improve cancer treatments, as well as potentially helping to identify cancer patient subpopulations that will most likely benefit from such treatments. Dr. Jonathan Derry, Vice President of Research at Sage Bionetworks noted, “This is an exciting opportunity to combine what we have learned about complex genetic networks with the outstanding resources and scientists at AstraZeneca.”
Dr. Susan Galbraith, Vice President and Head of Oncology Innovative Medicines Unit at AstraZeneca said: “We are looking forward to collaborating with Sage Bionetworks to build realistic, predictive models of cancers to expand our current understanding of these diseases and potentially harness that knowledge into new target identification, portfolio positioning and patient selection all of which we hope will lead to new treatment options for patients.”
“Everyone truly wins in this project,” noted Dr. Stephen Friend, President of Sage Bionetworks. “Sage Bionetworks gets to work with an industry innovator and the resultant computational models will be placed in our public repository and available to all researchers following the completion of the project. Most importantly, we hope patients will gain better drugs.”
18 March 2011 Press Release