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Major Cancer Breakthrough?: New Drug Potential “Holy Grail” For Treatment

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Major Cancer Breakthrough?: New Drug Potential “Holy Grail” For Treatment

Our Review Summary

Worst of the three network TV segments we reviewed on this same PARP inhibitor study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

No evidence.

No data on benefits.

No discussion of potential harms.

No experts interviewed.

No discussion of the problems with drawing conclusions from small, early Phase 1 studies that are not primarily designed to measure effectiveness. 

This felt like a TV network morning show that wanted to look like it was aware of a big study because they saw it on two other networks the night before – yet didn’t want to invest the time to do it right.   Just call it a breakthrough and the holy grail and call it a day.

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

No discussion of costs.

Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

No discussion of potential harms – which – as reported in the NEJM article, are worth discussing. 

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?

Not Satisfactory

No details on the evidence – only that it was "incredibly effective."  No discussion of the limitations of drawing conclusions from small early phase 1 trials that are not primarily designed to show effectiveness.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Not Applicable

Not much discussion of the cancers involved, so this criterion is N/A.

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?

Not Satisfactory

No expert interviewed.  NO source cited.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Not Satisfactory

No context given to put the new research into the broader picture of cancer research.  Only enough time to call it the holy grail of cancer research.

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Not Satisfactory

No discussion of the early phase of research – just that it may be the holy grail of cancer research.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Not Satisfactory

A nod in this direction, but the segment was just too brief to put the new research into any context of alternative targeted chemotherapy research. 

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?

Not Applicable

We can’t be sure of the extent to which the story relied on a news release.  No source was cited.  NO expert interviewed.

Total Score: 0 of 8 Satisfactory

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