science communication

What magnitude of benefit is meaningful to cancer patients?

Oncologists often use the phrase “clinically meaningful benefit” to describe the effect of an experimental treatment. But is the benefit meaningful for patients? A new paper suggests that benefit claims in journal articles often fall short.  

Clearing the quandary of cancer early detection

For many cancers, five-year survival rates approach 99 percent if the disease is detected early, when tumors are small and not yet spreading. But efforts to detect cancers early have led to a quandary. Current screening tests too often fail to find high-risk cancers while at the same time raising too many alarms about essentially harmless growths. The technologies used for early detection can’t reliably distinguish aggressive, life-threatening abnormalities from those that are unlikely to ever … Read More

When evidence contradicts entrenched medical practices

‘Medical reversal’ harms patients and undermines faith in the medical system. Hematologist-oncologist Vinay Prasad is pushing to change how medicine adopts new technologies.   Medical reversal is the phenomenon when a medical practice falls out of favor not by being surpassed, but when researchers discover that it didn’t really work all along. “I think the lesson of reversal is we need robust, large-scale, pragmatic, randomized control trials,” said OHSU assistant professor Vinay Prasad, M.D., M.P.H. “That should … Read More

With foundation help, an Oregon doctor roots out low-value medical practices

Physicians have started to face up to an uncomfortable truth: their profession has often embraced new treatments that don’t really help patients. “When you look at the balance of benefit and harm, some therapies provide no net benefit,” says OHSU assistant professor Vinay Prasad, M.D., M.P.H., who has landed a $2 million grant to go after the problem.

Charting the financial conflicts of doctors on Twitter

#Igetpaidbythemaker A detailed look at the tweeting habits of more than 600 hematologist-oncologists in the U.S. and found that 72 percent were recipients of industry money for consulting, travel, lodging, or food and beverage. It’s raising questions about physicians’ duty to report conflict of interest when using social media.

Marquam Hill Lecture: Confronting the unexpected rise of pancreas cancer

Unlike the other major causes of cancer mortality, pancreatic cancer is increasing in both incidence and number of deaths each year. Despite improvements in early detection and therapy that have greatly improved outcomes in other cancers, the five-year survival rate remains less than 8 percent for people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It’s on a course to become the second largest cause of cancer death within five to ten years – ahead of colorectal, breast, prostate … Read More

News hype clouds public understanding of cancer research

Breakthrough. Game changer. Revolutionary. Transformative. Life saver. A new analysis of media coverage found that half of new cancer drugs described with such superlatives had not received Food and Drug Administration approval for any indication. Worse, 14 percent of the hyped treatments had not been tested in human subjects.

Solving the problem of drug-resistant cancer

Solving the problem of drug-resistant cancer

To discover ways to prevent or delay drug resistance in cancer, a new NCI-funded center at OHSU is exploring how acute myeloid leukemia cells evolve and adapt.