"If you're an adult with newly diagnosed non-small cell lung cancer that's spread and tests positive for PDL1 without an abnormal EGFR your first option could be …" announces a TV ad for a pair of targeted cancer drugs, flying by so fast that I doubt many patients can grasp anything.
According to the FDA, the wording of the ads comes from a "research team of social psychologists." Science journalists might better communicate drug mechanisms to consumers.
Another way to fathom the info in cancer drug ads is to go back to high school biology and consider the cell cycle – the molecular choreography that tells a cell whether, when, and how often to divide. The cycle has offshoots, called checkpoints, which enable a cell to die by apoptosis (aka programmed cell death) or pause for a time-out. Many targeted cancer drugs interrogate cell cycle enzymes and proteins that oversee checkpoints, stopping runaway cell division.
To continue reading, go to DNA Science, where this post first appeared.