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This podcast addresses a new tool in the arsenal for thyroid cancer treatment through precision medicine. It also indicates exciting possibilities in the treatment for other forms of cancer. Eli Lilly has a treatment called Retevmo that has shown remarkable success.

Listen and learn

  • Why a small proportion of patients with advanced medullary and papillary thyroid cancer can experience a return that metastasizes, 
  • How Retevmo inhibits tumor growth in RET-positive patients that face returns of these types of thyroid cancer, and
  • What studies show about its success rate and how to find out more about utilizing the therapy.

Maura Dickler is Vice President of Oncology, Late Phase Development, at Eli Lilly. Richard has invited her to today’s show because he is one of many who’ve been diagnosed with and successfully treated for papillary thyroid carcinoma. Maura Dickler, a medical oncologist, describes in particular two types of thyroid cancer that their new medication treats: advanced medullary thyroid cancer and metastatic papillary thyroid cancer.

The medication is a selective RET kinase inhibitor. Over-proliferation of RET in either of these cancers causes metastases and is caused by a mutation. She gives listeners specific ways to ask their doctor about testing for this mutation. The most efficient way, she explains, is through next-generation sequencing on a biopsy, or pathology sample when the thyroid is removed, to detect this RET mutation. She adds that it can be detected through other methods if next-generation sequencing is not available.

This genomic sequencing would indicate RET gene fusions in papillary thyroid cancer or RET point mutations in medullary thyroid cancer, and this patient would be eligible for Retevmo. Furthermore, this medication provides exciting news for the treatment of multiple cancers. As we better understand the drivers of cancer, she explains, the medical community will be better able to design medications that can shut off these proteins that are on overdrive, causing tumors. This is why Retevmo is so successful for papillary thyroid cancer treatment when it has metastasized, for example.

Scientists often refer to these genomic alterations and tumors as oncogene-addicted and these new specialized medications inhibit the proteins that are driving these tumors. Listen in to learn an especially hopeful story about a young man named Tanner who faced stage 4 medullary thyroid cancer.

For more information, she suggests talking to your doctor about Retevmo.

Available on Apple Podcasts: apple.co/2Os0myK

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