When it comes to oncology research, no show does a better job of bringing the best thought leaders in the industry than the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, which kicks off this Friday at McCormick Place in Chicago. The four day event will focus on Illumination & Innovation: Transforming Data into Learning. The agenda is jam packed, with sessions covering 21 different tracks, including melanoma, breast cancer, leukemia, pediatric oncology, special sessions, and professional development.
Clinical Leader would like to keep you in the loop on many of the informative sessions that will be happening during this year’s meeting. Working with inVentiv Health, a professional service company and a leader in Immunotherapy Research, will be posting blogs on Clinical Leader and shared via social media (Twitter and LinkedIn) throughout the meeting, including Saturday and Sunday.
The first post, which will go live on Friday, will take a look ahead to the meeting and the sessions on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday that are sure to generate the most excitement. A focus at this year’s meeting will be on the promise of immune-oncology, a hot topic that is sure to be widely discussed. This year’s show will also focus on the companion topics of precision medicine and predictive diagnostics for finding the right patients for advanced treatments. One thing can certainly be gleaned from perusing the program sessions for the meeting: the underlying questions for many of the sessions will be how society can continue to afford new treatments, and how clinicians can stand up for the patients who need them. Clearly, providing optimal care while optimizing the money being spent on healthcare will be a concern for everyone involved in the oncology space.
Saturday’s post will focus on two sessions that are sure to generate a great amount of attention. The first is “Immunotherapy for Every Patient: Check You Enthusiasm,” a panel discussion that will be moderated by Dr. Neil Howard Siegel of Memorial Sloan Kettering. The other is “Payment Reform in Oncology: The Way forward.” This panel will be moderated by Dr. Jeffrey Ward of the Swedish Cancer Institute in Seattle, Washington.
On Sunday, the post will focus on a plenary session titled “Perspective on Value,” presented by Dr. Len Saltz of Memorial Sloan Kettering. Saltz will look at the cost of new treatments, considering both dollars and toxicity, versus the incremental efficacy benefit. For example, the melanoma combination used in Checkmate 067 runs around $300,000 per year. Unfortunately there are, as yet, no biomarkers or molecular diagnostic tests to select the patients most likely to respond to treatment. As a result, clinicians are handcuffed to treating everyone, and administering a “wallet biopsy” to patients through their insurance carriers. Because of the potentially large co-pay which patients may be forced to accept, some may opt out of highly-effective therapies because of cost. This is an issue that could cause a divide and strain the relationship between pharma sponsors and clinical investigators.
We will be posting two articles on Monday. The first will be on two morning sessions focused on new diagnostics and precision medicine through molecular profiling. The final post will be a wrap-up of the 2015 meeting, with any surprises heard at the show and commentary of the subjects that were the buzz of the meeting.
Please be sure to follow our updates all weekend long, and comment with any thoughts or questions you have. The ASCO 2015 annual meeting promises to be an exciting and thought-provoking meeting. Clinical Leader and inVentiv Health hope you will enjoy the posts and be part of the discussion.