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In melanoma patients, immune therapy may boost survival

Rating

5 Star

In melanoma patients, immune therapy may boost survival

Our Review Summary

In just 310 words, this story covered key points of study results clearly, concisely and without hyperbole. It used terms like "may boost survival…may provide a new way…modest success" instead of overstating.

 

Why This Matters

It is a difficult balance reporting on promising study results for a terrible disease and doing so without sensationalism.  This story found that balance nicely.  It proves that in only 310 words, health news stories can do a reasonable job addressing our criteria on how new findings should be reported.

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Applicable

Not applicable.  Costs not discussed but we understand that at this point in the research.  Nonetheless, we wish the story had used even one short line, as the Wall Street Journal did, to say the drugmaker said it was too soon to discuss pricing.

Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Satisfactory

Good job on this, especially putting results in context in calm, measured terms:

  • "Doctors say that even modest success is reason for hope in this disease."

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

Satisfactory

Good job quantifying the harms found in the study, the severity of those harms, and including one – death (in 1.5% of patients on the experimental approach) –  that many news stories didn’t report.

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

Not Satisfactory

The story didn’t discuss a key point raised in some other stories, such as one by TheStreet.com that reported that the study "lacked a comparison to a placebo or true control, which makes the results harder to interpret."

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Satisfactory

No disease mongering in this story.

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

Satisfactory

The study author was interviewed along with a clinician who has used the drug. Drug company funding of the study was disclosed.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Satisfactory

Story explains that this is "the first drug to improve advanced melanoma patients’ survival in a large, definitive trial."

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

Satisfactory

The story was clear about the experimental stage of the approach.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Satisfactory

The novelty – that is "the first drug to improve advanced melanoma patients’ survival in a large, definitive trial" – was explained.

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

Satisfactory

It’s clear the story didn’t rely on a news release.

Total Score: 8 of 9 Satisfactory

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