Have you ever dropped a stone in a lake and watched the water around it move outward in ever-expanding waves? If so, then you understand the "ripple effect," the idea that one event or idea can have an impact on everything around it. If you look closely, you can find examples of the ripple effect across the cancer community--especially when it comes to the science of fighting and treating cancer.
No scientific discovery exists in a vacuum. Instead, the scientific community relies on collaboration to make progress, learning from each other and from the impact of any new discovery. Each step forward teaches researchers something new about potential new medicines and deepens their understanding of cancer. Even when experiments fail, scientists often learn something valuable that they're able to apply to their next study or use to push research forward in another direction. The result is a stream of continuous innovation that steadily identifies new therapeutic options for people with cancer.
As an example, let's take a look at the lifetime of a medicine. When the a new treatment gets approved for patient use, it is generally approved for just one type of cancer. However, as time goes on, that medicine may be found to be effective against other types of cancer as well. A report from the Office of Health Economics showed that 3 of the 10 cancer medicines it studied were approved to treat additional types of cancer in the two years after their original approval, while another three drugs were approved for use within new patient populations, such as children. One medicine, growing impact: it's the ripple effect in action.
So while one stone dropped in water may seem inconsequential, keep in mind that even a small stone can have many ripples. Over time, continuous innovation can result in major strides in treating cancer.