TipsForWomens wanted to focus on the latest innovations in oncology. Oncologist at the Georges-Pompidou European Hospital, Dr Ivan Pourmir enlightens us on the progress in oncology which will change patient care.
What advances have been made in the fight against cancer in recent years?
Dr Ivan Pourmir, oncologist: We talk about cancer, but in reality, this term brings together very different diseases. Cancers affect different organs and the same organ can develop different types of cancer. Also, certain rare cancers can develop in utero while others, more common, affect the elderly…
In addition to the multitude of cancers that exist, there is also the scientific approach to the disease which has evolved in recent years. Previously, there was a lot of interest in the lesion, neglecting the rest. Today, the focus is on the host (the patient) and the environment in which the tumor progresses. We now know that tumors modify their environment to grow, for example.
Which ones do you think will mark 2024?
Immunotherapy is a booming discipline since 2005-2010. It makes it possible to treat certain patients through an interaction between the immune system and the cancer itself. This treatment particularly worked in metastatic melanoma, where some patients are today considered cured, even though their vital prognosis was poor.
It then developed, still at the metastatic stage, in lung cancer now, but also in kidney cancer or ENT cancers. What will be done more and more, in 2024 and in the years to come, is to apply immunotherapy to localized cancers in order to eradicate them and increase the patient’s chances of definitive cure.
What can this change for patients?
This changes the long-term perspective for the patient. In the case of metastatic melanoma, some patients have been cured, whereas ten years previously they would have been doomed in the short term. By combining treatments, surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy, in certain cases remission or even a definitive cure can be achieved.
In your opinion, is there a line of research that could revolutionize oncology?
The promising avenues, in my opinion, concern non-drug interventions. The link between the psyche and the immune system is increasingly better understood, particularly the impact of stress, or between diet (ketogenic diet, intermittent fasting, etc.) and the metabolism of tumors. Data is accumulating at the preclinical level (on animals or cell cultures).
Unfortunately, we currently lack in-depth clinical studies on the subject, because pharmaceutical laboratories are not interested in them. These non-drug interventions should be tested in large clinical trials in humans to confirm whether they can be used successfully in addition to other therapies. This requires financing and organization put in place by public structures.