We are all likely to be affected in some way by cancer in our lifetime, the second leading cause of death globally . With our rich legacy in oncology, we understand the incredible burden that cancer has on patients and those we care for them.
Danielle, a cancer patient from the United States, is one of the people who inspires our work. After a visit to the doctor for pain in her hip and leg, Danielle was diagnosed with multiple myeloma at age 46.
“I didn’t know how to feel, to be honest. It’s just something that you never want to hear,” she said. “But I wanted to know how to fight this. I wanted to know what I needed to do to overcome this obstacle.”
Multiple myeloma is the second most common form of blood cancer , affecting more than 138,000 people worldwide . Patients with multiple myeloma continue to relapse over time making it a difficult-to-treat and incurable cancer.
Within a year of being diagnosed, Danielle underwent three cycles of high-dose chemo, which involved four-day continuous drip infusions, and had two stem cell transplants. She stopped working and was no longer able to do some of the activities she used to take for granted, like cleaning the house and going shopping.
“There is always strife in life that we have to overcome. Some are bigger than others,” Danielle said. “We have to just march through that journey because there’s going to be another journey that we have to face.”
Danielle is still battling her multiple myeloma but is determined not to let it define her life. She has gone back to work and begun doing activities that make her happy like reading and working in the garden.
“I am looking forward and my future is bright,” Danielle said. “Yes, I have multiple myeloma, but I also have a life and I will be living that life.”
In our determination to help patients like Danielle, we have made a significant investment in our Oncology franchise. Our existing portfolio of medicines treat numerous types of cancers including skin, prostate, lung, colon, and breast, and our pipeline includes a dozen investigational medicines in all phases of clinical development.
Our strategy is to focus on four areas of cancer – skin, blood, breast and lung cancers. Our research is focused in two approaches: immuno-oncology and molecular oncology.
In immuno-oncology, our research addresses the underlying mechanisms of resistance to immunotherapies, which use a patient’s own immune system to fight cancer. The body’s immune system is the first line of defense against cancer, but tumors are often highly effective at evading detection. We aim to inhibit the ability of cancer to hide from the body’s immune system and enable the immune system to attack tumor cells.
Our molecular oncology research includes targeted therapeutics that aim to exploit genetic changes found in tumors but not normal cells, drugs that suppress hormone-driven cancers, as well as therapies that deliver anticancer drugs into tumors minimizing systemic exposure and sparing normal tissues.
There are millions of patients around the world like Danielle, who are battling cancer and are in need of novel treatment options. Their stories motivate and inspire our determination to advance scientific discovery to bring solutions to patients.
1. Cancer. World Health Organization. Published September 12, 2018. Accessed April 2, 2019.
2. Kazandjian. Multiple myeloma epidemiology and survival: A unique malignancy. Semin Oncol. 2016;43(6):676-681. doi:10.1053/j/seminoncol.2016.11.004
3. Cowan AJ, Allen C, Barac A, et al. Global Burden of Multiple Myeloma: A Systematic Analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016. JAMA Oncol. 2018;4(9):1221–1227. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2018.2128