OCTALKS l Breaking through limits in lung cancer survival with Patrick Connor


Hello, and welcome to this episode of OC Talks Podcast Series brought to you by Oncology Central. I’m Jade Parker, Senior Editor of Oncology Central, a free online platform that unites all aspects of oncology to support multidisciplinary approach to progression of the field. In this episode today, we’ll be talking to Patrick Connor from AstraZeneca about the Lung Ambition Alliance. Thank you for joining us today, Patrick.

Could you start off by briefly introducing yourself?

Hello, my name is Patrick Connor, and I’m the Global Franchise Head for the Tagrisso and our tumor drivers in resistance platform here at AstraZeneca. That means I have a specific focus on lung cancer within my role, and I also have the great privilege of leading from the AstraZeneca perspective an initiative which we’re launching called the Lung Ambition Alliance, which is a partnership within the lung cancer community, which hopes to one day eliminate lung cancer as a cause of death.

Have you ever had a personal connection to lung cancer yourself?

Well, yes, unfortunately, like many people, I have had a personal impact from lung cancer. My grandfather, he was a very vibrant man who grew up on the island of Mauritius. He was a lateral smoker, and unfortunately, cancer took his life. You know, lung cancer is the number one, was the leading cause of cancer related deaths in the world. Unfortunately, too many people have had a personal association or connection to the disease and that’s something that we’d like to address.

Can you tell us why the Lung Ambition Alliance was formed?

Sure, well, you know, there’s been significant progress in the disease of lung cancer over the course of the last several years, but the fact remains that it is the leading cause of cancer-related death. The fact remains that every 18 seconds, somebody will die around the world from lung cancer. And, you know, the fact remains that unfortunately, the vast majority of people will be diagnosed with disease with late stages where their prognosis is significantly worse, that means, if you have a lung cancer diagnosis today, the chance of an individual being alive 5 years from now, is only about 20%. So that means only one in five people diagnosed with lung cancer will be alive 5 years after the diagnosis. The reason to bring together the Lung Ambition Alliance is really that will be making some progress, but where we are is not acceptable. We have to be passionately dissatisfied with where we are with this disease, and we want to accelerate advances for people with lung cancer.

In your opinion, why is it important to implement the Lung Ambition Alliance now?

Yes, it’s for that reason, I think if you look across lung cancer, and you look across the advances that we make with medicines, what we know now about screening, the advances that you see in technology with artificial intelligence and machine learning. I think that now it’s the time to really bring all of those things together and make a step change. Lung cancer is a big disease and I don’t think that, you know, any one organization is going to be able to tackle it successfully on their own. So partnering is absolutely critical and key to moving us forward.

What does Lung Ambition Alliance aim to accomplish?

Well, as I said, we have a very bold ambition, and that is to eliminate lung cancer as a cause death. But of course, you know, that is clearly going to take some time and great efforts from peers and partners around the world and focused on this disease. So we have a first more concrete step, which is to double 5-year survival by 2025. What we would like to achieve is if you look at some other types of cancers, like breast cancer for example, and you look back over the past say 50 years, there’s been an incredible rate of progress and an incredible increase in the survivorship that you see with women who are diagnosed with breast cancer and what we would like to achieve is something very similar to that but obviously the lung cancers space.

What makes the Lung Ambition Alliance stand out from other initiatives that also target lung cancer?

Well, I would say two things. I think the first thing is about partnership. So the Lung Ambition Alliance and the partnership today between AstraZeneca, a pharmaceutical company, the IASLC, who are the world’s leading a professional society focused on lung cancer, The Global Lung Cancer Coalition, who are a coalition of patient advocacy groups around the world, so really bringing to the table for voice to the patient, and Guardant Health who are blood-based diagnostics company.

And why I think that partnership is so key and unique is that all of us can bring a diverse set of perspectives, a diverse sets of capabilities, and that means when we’re working on projects together, that breadth and of variety of resource can really help us to move forward.

I think the second thing that differentiates this alliance from potentially other initiatives is that we’re focused on the complete patient journey. So if you think about the undiagnosed patients, we want to make sure that we’re not diagnosing three quarters of patients with late-stage disease, but that we are diagnosing patients at very early stages, where the potential for cure is greatest.

If you look at how we diagnose patients, and the innovations that are available to those patients with new medicines, for example, we want to make sure that every patient has access to those innovations and that great science actually gets delivered to people with lung cancer. And last but not least, if you think about to the treat the patient, the patients had more needs than medicine, you think beyond the pill and we think about the education, community, support services, support services for things like, you know, understanding how to plan for your financial future if you have lung cancer, to understanding how to manage adverse events if you’re on medications that have adverse events that need managing.

So really, we’re focused on three core pillars, that is to screen and diagnose early, to deliver innovative medicines, and to enhance the quality of care the patients with lung cancer will get so really thinking end-to-end across the journey for a person who has lung cancer.


That you, Patrick. Unfortunately, that’s all we have time for today on this OC Talks episode, but you can find out more in our in focus on lung cancer. Make sure to check out the Oncology Central website and our social media accounts for more information and find out about future podcasts. You can also find out more by joining us on twitter via @JadeBethParker and @Oncology Central. Thank you.

Date of preparation: July 2019 Date of expiry: July 2020 Document ID: Z4-18671