SGO Issues June 13, 2013

SGO Issues June 13, 2013

Supreme Court: Human genes cannot be patented
Upcoming State of the Art Conference spotlights GTD
3rd Biennial ASGO Meeting in Kyoto to show ‘New Era of Gynecologic Oncology in Asia’
New education on SGO Connect Ed
Upgrade your SGO Membership
On Your Side: The Gynecologic Cancer Care Team
In the News

Supreme Court: Human genes cannot be patented

SDNAGO says ruling should reduce cost and increase accessibility of testing

Today the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that natural human genes cannot be patented by companies, but a synthetic version of the gene material may be patented. The ruling affects Myriad Genetics’ patents on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.

According to Bloomberg News, parts of Myriads’ patents “improperly covered natural phenomena” but other parts “involve enough human intervention to be eligible for legal protection.”

In the wake of this ruling, SGO is urging all women with ovarian, peritoneal or fallopian tube cancer, regardless of other family history, to undergo genetic counseling and possible testing. In addition men and women with a family history of cancer should consider genetic counseling.

“The Supreme Court ruling against the patenting of human genes should significantly reduce the cost of genetic testing and make it more accessible,” said Barbara A. Goff, MD, SGO President. “Health care providers that specialize in genetic cancer disorders, such as cancer physicians and genetic counselors, are invaluable resources to provide proper risk assessment, counseling and discussion of results and management options. Women determined to be at increased genetic risk for cancer should be referred to a center specializing in the management of such patients. General options for women who are found to have genetic mutations for cancer include increased surveillance, chemoprevention and surgical risk reduction.

Media coverage is rapidly evolving today as analysis of the ruling continues. Coverage includes stories in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today. The news release from the plaintiff claiming victory, the American Civil Liberties Union, is here, and the court ruling is here.

Upcoming State of the Art Conference spotlights GTD

0513_GTD_SOA_bannerAlthough it is considered a rare illness, gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD) is highly curable with properly administered treatment. Since gynecologic oncologists treat most GTD patients in the U.S. or provide consultation to ob-gyns or medical oncologists, GTD will be the focus of this year’s SGO State of the Art Conference on Sept. 20 at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, IL. The conference will be held in conjunction with the International Society for the Study of Trophoblastic Diseases (ISSTD) World Congress XVII meeting.

According to John R. Lurain, MD, Marcia Stenn Professor of Gynecologic Oncology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and author of “Gestational trophoblastic disease I: epidemiology, pathology, clinical presentation and diagnosis of gestational trophoblastic disease, and management of hydatidiform mole,” (Am J Obstet Gynecol, Dec. 2010) the incidence of hydatidiform mole (molar pregnancy) in the U.S. is about 1 per 1000 pregnancies, and choriocarcinoma (cancer of the trophoblast) affects about 1 in 40,000 pregnancies and 1 in 40 hydatidiform moles.

“Attendees at the ISSTD/SGO State-of-the-Art Conference will learn from international experts in the field about the pathology and genetics of GTD, management of hydatidiform moles, diagnosis and treatment of postmolar gestational trophoblastic neoplasia (GTN), how to choose the best treatment for low-risk GTN, and multimodality therapy of high-risk GTN,” said Dr. Lurain, who will be joined in conducting the course by Feinberg colleagues Julian C. Schink, MD, Division Chief and John and Ruth Brewer Professor of Gynecology and Cancer Research, and Emily Berry, MD, Assistant Professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology–Gynecologic Oncology.

Dr. Lurain noted that some of the common misconceptions about GTD and GTN are that these diseases are easy to treat, all GTN are alike, and weekly intramuscular methotrexate is the preferred treatment for low-risk GTN. He added that GTD has been historically associated with a high mortality rate, prior to the development of early detection and effective uterine evacuation means in the 1970s, and even GTN had a mortality rate of almost 100 percent when metastases were present before the introduction of chemotherapy to GTN management 50 years ago.

“Gestational trophoblastic diseases are now some of the most curable of all solid tumors with cure rates greater than 90 percent even in the presence of widespread metastatic disease, if treatment is administered properly,” said Dr. Lurain. “This success is the result of the inherent sensitivity of trophoblastic neoplasims to chemotherapy, the effective use of the tumor marker human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) for diagnosing disease and monitoring therapy, the referral of patients to or consultation with clinicians who have special expertise in management of these diseases, the identification of prognostic factors that predicts treatment response and enhances individualization of therapy; and the use of combined modality treatment with chemotherapy, radiation and surgery in the highest risk patients.”

To attend the 2013 SGO State of the Art Conference, register here.

3rd Biennial ASGO Meeting to show ‘New Era of Gynecologic Oncology in Asia’

A “New Era of Gynecologic Oncology in Asia” is the theme for the Third Biennial Meeting of the Asian Society of Gynecologic Oncology (ASGO), which will take place Dec. 13 – 15, 2013, at the Westin Miyako Kyoto, Japan. Poster presentations can be submitted at www.asgo2013.org now until Sept. 13. Selected papers will be chosen for oral presentation at a meeting workshop to be held Dec. 14 or 15.

“In Asian countries, although we have still many patients with gynecological cancer at advanced stages, medical care in each country has dramatically been improving by tremendous efforts of physicians and our partnership in globalization,” said Ikuo Konishi, MD, Congress President for the 3rd ASGO Meeting, in his official invitation to meeting attendees.

“We are now coming into ‘New Era of Asia’ for better women’s health care,” he added. “Therefore, it is very important for us to meet together, exchange the knowledge about gynecological cancer, and enthusiastically be involved in face-to-face discussion about all aspects of gynecologic oncology, such as better understanding of disease and further progress on the screening, diagnosis, treatment, prevention and palliative care in the 21st century.”

SGO president Barbara A. Goff, MD, will be among the scheduled speakers from outside of Asia at the ASGO Meeting.

New education on SGO Connect Ed

Several new educational offerings are now available in SGO Connect Ed’s e-learning library. Log on today and listen to the first recording in the 2013 Coding Webinar Series: Coding for Chemotherapy, watch surgical films from SGO’s 2013 Annual Meeting, and learn more about breast disease through the dedicated 2013 Annual Meeting Sunrise Session. Please contact education@sgo.org for more information regarding SGO Connect Ed.

Upgrade your SGO Membership

Contact membership@sgo.org to find out if you are ready for the next level of SGO Membership. Applications are due July 31.

On Your Side: The Gynecologic Cancer Care Team

Share the SGO video, “On Your Side: The Gynecologic Cancer Care Team,” with patients and others who want to learn more about the subspecialty of gynecologic oncology.

In the News

More women removing ovaries to prevent cancer (June 12, 2013)
The dangers of ‘conventional wisdom’ in cancer care (June 12, 2013)
Amgen’s trebananib slows ovarian cancer in clinical trial (June 12, 2013)
World’s largest cancer database launched in UK (June 12, 2013)
The Pill lowers ovarian cancer risk (June 6, 2013)
Nontoxic therapy proves effective against metastatic cancer (June 5, 2013)