Expert Point of View: Neal J. Meropol, MD


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Neal J. Meropol, MD

Neal J. Meropol, MD, Chief of Hematology and Oncology at University Hospitals ­Seidman Cancer Center and Case Western Reserve University, discussed the CAIRO3 results at the Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium.

He said there are three main lessons from ­CAIRO3: (1) It is feasible yet challenging to conduct a “window of opportunity” study after induction, as fewer than two patients were accrued per year per center, (2) maintenance treatment clearly will delay progression, and (3) more work is needed to identify patients who may safely receive a treatment holiday.

Time to Jump to the Next Curve

Dr. Meropol described the colorectal cancer “S curve,” that shows how survival has steadily increased from the 1980s, with the “tweaking of 5-FU,” to the 1990s, the era of new cytotoxics and antibodies, into the 2000s with further “tweaking” of the same. “We must jump to the next curve,” he emphasized.

There are three main ways to get there, he said: through technology (specifically, genomics and big data); through teamwork (specifically, public-private biobanking); and through clinical trials (specifically, new trial models and new infrastructure and regulatory models). ■

Disclosure: Dr. Meropol has received consulting fees from Precision Therapeutics.


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