Nicole Sweeney is a Manager with Boston Healthcare Associates. She focuses on health policy and market access issues faced by innovators in the pharmaceutical, medical device, and diagnostic space.
The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)’s Annual Conference is this week, and with a theme of “Illumination & Innovation: Transforming Data into Learning” we are excited to see the research being presented on ways to prevent, treat and cure cancer.
In the last several decades, our scientific understanding of cancer has grown immensely, and the U.S. cancer death rate has fallen 22 percent since its peak in 1991. Innovative cancer therapies have played a significant role in this decline; however, the most impactful changes to the care paradigm often emerge from existing therapies through their further evaluation in post-approval clinical studies and real-world data collection. Because accelerated approval is a key pathway to get drugs to patients who need them quickly, the full value of an oncology medicine is typically not known until well after a drug is available to patients.
In our new white paper released today, “The Value of Innovation in Oncology: Recognizing Emerging Benefits Over Time,” we detail exactly how continued learning and accumulation of knowledge after approval often translates into increased clinical value for patients and the physicians who treat them.
In this white paper, we examine key ways in which oncology therapeutics demonstrate increasing clinical value over time, by added data proving additional value of therapies that initially received accelerated approval, use of therapies earlier in the treatment line and earlier in the disease stage, in added disease indications, in combination with other agents, or by targeting specific biomarkers. In all of these ways the scientific and clinical communities are reaching a broader range of patients, often in the hopes of halting or slowing disease progression in an earlier stage of disease to both preserve patient quality of life and prolong the time in which patients can realize these clinical benefits. Dr. Harold Varmus, former director of the National Cancer Institute, makes clear that “when we measure what we knew about cancer 40 years ago against what we know now, the transformation is simply revolutionary.” Improved use and targeting of oncology medicines have contributed substantially to this transformation.
As we move into ASCO this week, one of the most important conferences in the oncology community, it is important to remember these evolutionary advances in oncology treatment and the clinical impact of the new treatments as presented also hold potential in the years to come to fight these deadly diseases. This is a perfect time for appreciation of the way in which research and data truly have a meaningful impact on millions of lives of oncology patients and their caregivers and families around the world.
Nicole Sweeney, Boston Healthcare Associates
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