Value of medical innovation campaign to focus on making cancer treatment predictive, personalized, preventive, and participatory.
CHICAGO, Illinois – (June 4, 2013) – Citing a world free from cancer by 2050 as its goal, a partnership of patients, researchers, advocacy groups and innovators led by the Center for Medicine in The Public Interest (CMPI) today launched the Value of Medical Innovation (VOI) initiative. The initiative advocates for advances in patient-centered innovation and transformational change in how society develops and uses new cancer treatments.
“Business as usual won't cut it," said Robert Goldberg, PhD, CMPI vice president and VOI founder. “Insurance companies, hospitals, drug companies, and even the FDA are entrenched in a system that pays them for research and treatment focused on the cancer, not the patient."
The cornerstone of the VOI initiative for a world free from cancer is a six-point plan designed to challenge conventional approaches, revolutionize cancer treatment and elevate appreciation for the value of medical innovation. The plan's progress will be monitored by a Life-Years-Saved (LYS) Clock.
The newly launched LYS Clock will measure real-time progress in extending lives as well as calculate the economic benefits that result. The LYS Clock will be used to assess the impact of the action plan and chart headway made in reaching the 2050 goal.
Cancer patients' living longer, better lives has added $4.7 trillion to our economy," said Dr. Goldberg. “That's an incredible return for what we've invested in new cancer therapies."
The six-point plan aims to speed innovation by making cancer treatments predictive, personalized, preventive and participatory.
Is it possible to live in a World Free From Cancer by 2050? With targeted therapy, we have the knowledge. And now we have clear initiatives to make it reality.
Cancer patients should use online communities to test treatments, design studies and determine better ways to tackle their illness. They already keep tabs on their health and follow their progress with fitness monitors and tablets. Research should be shaped by these real-time, real world experiences in combination with an understanding of the genetic mechanisms that make their particular type of tumor tick. Eric Topol, author the Creative Destruction of Medicine observes, “It is time for the rise of the consumers to drive the future of medicine. It is their DNA, their medical data, their cell phones, and their own health at stake."
It took nearly a billion dollars and 10 years for the Human Genome Project to develop a detailed genetic map. Genomes now can be sequenced in a few hours for under $500. We should leverage advances such as this to personalize medicine to an individual's illness with a targeted cure.
Several cancer organizations, including the International Myeloma Foundation, StandUp2Cancer and the Sarcoma Foundation of America, require researchers they fund to look for genetic cues that could lead to cures. That should be the rule, not the exception.
It takes 8 to twelve years, on average, to develop a cancer drug, which is often longer than the development time frame for drugs that treat other diseases. Most of the time and effort is spent on testing medicines in people that we know won't deliver a therapeutic benefit. A focus on the patient and his or her genetic signature would help identify better therapies sooner. That would lead to faster approval time frames for cancer medications.
Advances in cancer treatment are saving lives and cutting health-care costs. But many health-insurance plans haven't caught up with the times. Nearly half of all cancer patients are forced to choose between a treatment that could save their lives or the one that's covered by their plan. Insurers should pay for the right treatment for the right patient and not shift the cost to patients in the process.
Under existing health care regulations, innovations that save money are often pitted against services that lose money. Like public charter schools, charter cancer communities would have greater flexibility to use and pay for the combination of treatments that deliver the best value. And they would be accountable to the member organizations and to the patients they serve.
Doctors and hospitals often can't provide enough resources, staff or technical support to help patients with the emotional, economic and physical aftershocks of cancer. What's needed is an online service that would simplify the search for advocacy groups and disability coverage. The website would also assist patients in obtaining services and handling hotel and travel bookings related to treatment.
Since 1990, new cancer medicines have doubled the number of cancer survivors from six million to 13 million, resulting in 43 million additional life-years gained by treatment advances. Every dollar spent on new cancer medicines reduces spending on hospitals and doctors by seven dollars. All told, innovative treatments account for only about one percent of total health care spending.
"Many people believe that in the war on cancer we get too little benefit for too much money," said Dr. Goldberg. “We have 43 million reasons to prove them wrong."
The Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational organization that seeks to advance the discussion and development of patient-centered health care.
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