If cancer is cancer, why don’t we have a single cure yet to combat this vicious disease? The word ‘cancer’ is generally used to describe one disease, but the term actually refers to a family of more than 250 different diseases. The scope becomes even wider when we look at tumours at the molecular level, where we know today that no single tumour is exactly like another.
Every tumour is individual because every patient is individual with different genetic and environmental risk factors that influence how a human body reacts to a tumour. Variable factors include the medical history of a person, the genetic mutations that lead to formation of a tumour, and the individual reaction of the immune system against the tumour.
More treatment options are available than ever before, but there may never be a single cure for ‘cancer’. As each cancer type responds differently to different treatments, it is crucial to define the right treatment at the right time for the right patient.
The AACR Annual Meeting is the largest of its kind in the world for cancer researchers and attracts more than 18,000 researchers from over 60 countries each spring. This year the theme of the meeting is “Bringing Cancer Discoveries to Patients” which is well aligned with Roche’s approach to innovation in cancer research and development.
Protein engineering is one of the key approaches at Roche to address how we bring new discoveries to patients. In the different stories published, we address why protein engineering is so important to the Roche oncology R&D strategy. We further explore why external innovation is indispensable to create novel platforms. We also highlight the range of different technologies we are working on, such as antibodies that can physically link a cancer cell with an immune cell (by binding to two different targets) or antibodies that are combined with an engineered cytokine.
Roche looks forward to engaging with cancer researchers and other stakeholders from across the world at and around AACR 2015 on many topical issues around innovation in cancer research to address unmet medical need.