Damon Runyon News

February 16, 2017

By Christin E. Burd, PhD, Damon Runyon Innovator, The Ohio State University

The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation recently asked some of our current award recipients how cancer will be prevented, diagnosed, and/or treated differently in the future. What can a future cancer patient, say 10-20 years from now, expect to experience? Their responses were fascinating, and over the next few months we will share their visions for the future on this blog.

Today we realize that cancer is not a single disease, but something unique to each individual. Even within a single tumor there is complexity and diversity unrecognized just a decade ago.

Employing this knowledge, along with emerging technological advances, will lead to fundamental changes in the patient population. To this end, more sensitive and specific diagnostics will greatly reduce the number of late-stage cancer diagnoses. This early detection, along with an increasing breadth of cancer therapeutics, will revolutionize the way we assess clinical outcomes.

For most cancers, 5 year survival rates will become a benchmark of the past and focus will be placed on understanding the lifelong consequences of each therapeutic regimen. We will gain a better understanding of cancer risk factors and know how they might be mitigated.

Finally, as our world ages, we will concentrate on finding ways to prolong the lives of older adults with cancer, providing them with an equal opportunity to become survivors.