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Has CAR-T lost its luster? Why is colorectal cancer on the rise? And did the FDA forever change in 2016?

We discuss all that and more on the latest episode of “The Readout LOUD,” STAT’s biotech podcast. First, we dig into the news out of this week’s big hematology conference, where novel treatments for blood cancer threatened the future of genetically engineered CAR-T therapies. Then, former Sarepta Therapeutics CEO Chris Garabedian joins us to talk about the company’s regulatory legacy and what he’s been up to since leaving it. Finally, we talk to Manju George, a patient activist working to spread the word about the alarming increase of colorectal cancer among young people.

For more on what we cover, here’s the news in hematology; here’s more on Garabedian’s work; and here’s some background on colorectal cancer patient activism.


We’ll be back next Thursday evening — and every Thursday evening — so be sure to sign up on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts.

And if you have any feedback for us — topics to cover, guests to invite, vocal tics to cease — you can email [email protected].


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  • I had 2 weeks of abdominal pain that I thought may be dehydration and no other signs when my doctor ordered CT scans to check for diverticulitis. Turns out it was stage 4 colorectal cancer in my sigmoid colon and my liver scan looked like swiss cheese with metastatic lesions. All my blood work was fine too. This disease is a silent killer.

    35 years old, 2 kids and a pregnant wife at the time of diagnosis, I was not prepared for this sudden change at all, who ever is?

    The patient advocacy platforms on social media are changing the face of patients cancer care and I would feel lost and powerless without them. The education and knowledge I have learned through these groups has my oncologist and I exploring targeted therapies now that may be much less harmful than chemotherapy.

    We must find a way for earlier detection and prevention. If you have any abnormal GI issues, please see a doctor.

  • I was diagnosed with stage 3b colon cancer at 36 years old. All my symptoms I chalked up to being a mom or just woman issues. At first they diagnosed me with diverticulitis. If it wasn’t for my gi doctor/ surgeon listening to his gut feeling and investigating things further because something didn’t seem right to him, I don’t know what could have happened. Something definitely has to change to help diagnose this awful disease as soon as possible.

  • Having been diagnosed with stage IV colorectal cancer when I was 43 yrs old, I applaud the inclusion of this important topic in this episode. The traditional risk factors for this disease do not seem to be applicable to so many of us with early onset disease. Broader use of the already existing diagnostic tools that your guest described is so critical to improving the chances of catching this disease in early stages when it is much more treatable.

  • It’s time more is done to diagnosis CRC at an earlier age. Stage IV diagnosed at 50. I wonder every single day how my life might be different if I had been diagnosed 5 years earlier. Thank you for bringing attention to early onset CRC, things need to change.

  • I’m a stage IV colon cancer patient, diagnosed at age 41, with two young daughters. Over the past few years I’ve met hundreds of young onset CRC patients online. Many have advanced disease, young families, and grim prognoses. Yet the 5-year overall survival for metastatic CRC remains dismal, not much higher than 10 percent. We must do better, not only with advanced screening methods (liquid biopsy, anyone?), but with treatment development and deployment. Thanks for shining a light on this subject.

  • I was diagnosed with stagelllB colon cancer when I went for a routine colonoscopy at age 50 . My surgeon told me if I had gotten a colonoscopy in my early 40’s I may not have gotten cancer at all . It just would have been a simple polyp removed from my colon not a cancerous tumor which is what it grew to be. Early detection is important.

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