It’s really refreshing to see a local newspaper localize a national story and to do so in a responsible way. Sure, the story led with its personal anecdote. But the personal trials of being in a trial came through in that anecdote. And sure, there were company predictions of how quickly this might be approved and on the market (something we think could have been handled better). But there wasn’t hype.
After a week’s worth of news out of the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting, and some published concerns about how that news was covered by bigger national news organizations, it was good to see this local paper’s measured efforts.
No discussion of costs. Is this OK because this is still experimental? We don’t think so, not when the drug company is allowed to project possible approval within a year. Much better to say, as a Wall Street Journal story did, that the company said it was too early to set pricing. But to ignore costs entirely is a mistake in our view.
good job providing absolute benefit data from the trial.
Good job on harms as well – "Serious side effects also became clear. Nearly two-thirds of patients on ipilimumab experienced side effects caused by over-active immunity, such as severe itching, intestinal irritation and diarrhea. Researchers linked 14 deaths to the study drugs, half caused by immune-system reactions."
Good job explaining the nationwide study and the local participation.
No disease mongering in this story.
Story quoted one independent source in addition to one of the study co-authors.
The story explained that "Other drug companies are at work on competing versions of the immune-enhancing antibody therapy."
It’s clear from the story that the approach is experimental. The story also states:
Minor quibble: perhaps the story should have reminded readers that a drug company’s timetable predictions may not be the most reliable.
For local readers it explained:
The relative novelty of the approach is clear in the story – "one of the first antibody-based therapies that use the body’s immune defenses to destroy cancer cells" and "Drug companies are racing to develop competing versions of the immune-enhancing therapy, an antibody produced through genetic engineering."
It’s clear that the story did not rely solely on a news release.