Development of New Drugs for Cancer Patients

Because cancer is becoming a common killer amongst people of all ages, new drugs are being developed in the treatment of cancer to help prolong life and ease symptoms of the disease. Heart disease presently is our nation’s largest killer, but within a decade cancer may take its place. There are about 200 different types of cancer that effect 1 in 3 Americans and kills 1 in 4 every day. (Arnst, 2008) Cancer treatments are the most costly medical treatment in America. Each year $125 billion dollars is spent on treatments paid by Medicare and individuals.

The American’s National Institute of Health states that, “by the year 2020 cancer treatment amounts could raise to $207 billion if prices continue to increase” (Arnst, 2008) Some treatments have an unaffordable price tag on them, like for example Prostate Cancer treatments could cost $44,000 a year, or Hodgkin’s Lymphoma costing $216,000 per treatment, and one of the most common cancers being Skin Cancer costing up to $120,000 just for four months of treatment. This cost is unreal in this day and age when the economy is in a recession.

Everyone involved struggles with this problem and wonder how we will be able to afford the cost of cancer over the next decade. Most doctors will only recommend certain treatments depending on the patient’s out-of-pocket spending. The old generic chemotherapy is relatively cheap and is most commonly used in cancer treatments. (The Economist Newspaper Limited, 2011) Cancer patients whose disease has been caught in the early stages have a better chance of living a longer life and will benefit more from treatments.

If it’s caught in the early stages, patients may be able to enroll in a clinical trial, but not everyone gets this chance. Clinical trials test patients with cancer, using experimental drugs that have not yet been approved by the FDA and compare them to drugs that are already used to treat the same kind of cancer. There are many parts to this process and can take many years to complete. The developers must get the funding first to begin the trial. The trial process includes determining the side effects, effectiveness, benefits, and risks of the new drug.

Then it is presented to the FDA for approval. Then the FDA must make sure the new drugs are safe and effective. (National Institute of Health, 1999) This means the benefits must outweigh the risks for its intended use. Cancer drugs have potent ingredients that kill cancer cells. Unfortunately they also kill healthy cells which intern weaken the body’s immune system and makes patients more susceptible to infections and other serious health problems. Cancer can be more damaging to our bodies than the treatments themselves.

One of the challenges for the FDA is getting the most promising treatments to the people who need them most as quickly as they can. Treatments may be approved even though there may be serious side effects and as long as the treatment is beneficial and the disease is life threatening. Only 8% of cancer drugs get approved compared to 20% of other illness drugs. Since 2005 the FDA has approved 18 new cancer drugs and the pharmaceutical companies are in the midst of developing 887 new cancer drugs. That’s a 26% increase since 2006.

(Goozner, 2012) There is a lot of money (billions) put into developing new cancer drugs but very few are approved. If there are not any currently approved therapies, the FDA may allow an investigational treatment that is not part of a clinical trial. There is a gentleman named David Kessler, who used to be a director for the FDA from 1990-1997. He is pushing for an expedited review process of cancer drugs like the FDA did for AIDS in the 1980’s and 1990’s, which changed the face of AIDS dramatically. (Arnst, 2008).

Effective drugs used for cancer can help extend a patient’s life as well as increase their chances of living a somewhat normal life without the disease progressing and getting worse. These drugs can help shrink the tumors and relieve cancer symptoms. Developing new drugs for cancer patients that are affordable, effective, and accessible can extend and possibly save billions of lives and help fight and conquer this disease once and for all. New effective cancer drugs can make a survivor’s life more enjoyable and pain free. We must continue the research and fight cancer for all of those who have died because of this terrible disease. Cancer not only affects the patient, it affects every person that knows the patient.

My mother died in October 2011 after a long and grueling 5-year fight with Vulvar Cancer. She was only 57 years old, so we must find a cure that is affordable for everyone and not put a price tag on any humans’ life. Without the development of new drugs and treatments cancer wins the battle and families are left in ruins and devastated by the end results. (Bren, 2007).

Bibliography Arnst, C. (2008, May 21). Bloomberg Business Week.

Retrieved February 1, 2012, from Cancers Cruel Economics: http://www. businessweek. com/magazine/content/08_22/b4086000467675. htm Becker, A. (2012, January 31). FDA Approves First Drug for Inoperable Skin Cancer. Retrieved February 13, 2012, from Vitals on MSNBC: http://vitals. msnbc. msn. com/_news/2012/01/31/10280479-fda-approves-first-drug-for-inoperable-skin-cancer Bren, L. (2007, January 29). Cancer Drugs: Weighing the Risks and Benefits. Retrieved February 4, 2012, from Cancer Treatment Watch: http://www. cancertreatmentwatch. org/general/drugs. shtml Goozner, M. (2012, January 23).

High Cost Of New Cancer Drugs Sparks New Care Struggle. Retrieved February 01, 2012, from Kaiser Health News: http://www. kaiserhealthnews. org/stories/2012/january/23/fiscal-times-cancer-drugs-affordable. aspx National Institute of Health. (1999, December 30). Understanding the Approval Process for New Cancer Treatments. Retrieved February 03, 2012, from National Cancer Institute : http://www. cancer. gov/clinicaltrials/learningabout/approval-process-for-cancer-drugs/page1 The Economist Newspaper Limited. (2011, May 26). Drug Companies in America – The Costly War on Cancer.

Retrieved February 2, 2012, from The Economist: http://www. economist. com/node/18743951 Points: 80Your Score: 65| Assignment 2. 1: The Public Needs to Know – Draft Version| Criteria| UnacceptableBelow 60% F| Meets Minimum Expectations60-69% D| Fair70-79% C| Proficient80-89% B| Exemplary90-100% A| 1. Provide a clear thesis statement. Weight: 5%| Did not submit or incompletely provided a clear thesis statement. | Insufficiently provided a clear thesis statement. | Partially provided a clear thesis statement. | Satisfactorily provided a clear thesis statement.

| Thoroughly provided a clear thesis statement. | 2. Describe the economic issues. Weight: 20%| Did not submit or incompletely described the economic issues. | Insufficiently described the economic issues. | Partially described the economic issues. | Satisfactorily described the economic issues. | Thoroughly described the economic issues. | 3. Describe the special needs (e. g. , health) of the population being served. Weight: 20%| Did not submit or incompletely described the special needs (e. g. , health) of the population being served. | Insufficiently described the special needs (e.g. , health) of the population being served. | Partially described the special needs (e. g. , health) of the population being served. |

Satisfactorily described the special needs (e. g. , health) of the population being served. | Thoroughly described the special needs (e. g. , health) of the population being served. | 4. Describe the process (decisions, steps) involved in the program. Weight: 15%| Did not submit or incompletely described the process (decisions, steps) involved in the program. | Insufficiently described the process (decisions, steps) involved in the program.

| Partially described the process (decisions, steps) involved in the program. | Satisfactorily described the process (decisions, steps) involved in the program. | Thoroughly described the process (decisions, steps) involved in the program. | 5. Explain the benefits of the program. Weight: 10%| Did not submit or incompletely explained the benefits of the program. | Insufficiently explained the benefits of the program. | Partially explained the benefits of the program. | Satisfactorily explained the benefits of the program. | Thoroughly explained the benefits of the program. | 6.

Include two (2) visuals that illustrated two (2) different claims. Weight: 5%| Did not submit or incompletely included two (2) visuals that illustrated two (2) different claims. | Insufficiently included two (2) visuals that illustrated two (2) different claims. | Partially included two (2) visuals that illustrated two (2) different claims. | Satisfactorily included two (2) visuals that illustrated two (2) different claims. | Thoroughly included two (2) visuals that illustrated two (2) different claims. | 7. Develop a coherently structured paper with an introduction, body, and conclusion.

Weight: 10%| Did not submit or incompletelydeveloped a coherently structured paper with an introduction, body, and conclusion. | Insufficiently developed a coherently structured paper with an introduction, body, and conclusion. | Partially developed a coherently structured paper with an introduction, body, and conclusion. | Satisfactorily developed a coherently structured paper with an introduction, body, and conclusion. | Thoroughly developed a coherently structured paper with an introduction, body, and conclusion. | 8. Provide 3 relevant and credible sources to support claims.

Weight: 5%| No references provided| Does not meet the required number of references; all references poor quality choices. | Does not meet the required number of references; some references poor quality choices. | Meets number of required references; all references high quality choices. | Exceeds number of required references; all references high quality choices. | 9. Clarity, writing mechanics, and formatting requirementsWeight: 10%| More than 8 errors present | 7-8 errors present| 5-6 errors present| 3-4 errors present| 1-2 errors present|.

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