FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 8, 2015
Diverse perspectives gather for the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer’s (SITC) Annual Meeting & Associated Programs to discuss the value of cancer immunotherapy
NATIONAL HARBOR, MARYLAND – In today’s Hot Topic Session, SITC initiated an important dialogue on the value of cancer immunotherapy treatment options for patients with cancer. A variety of stakeholders, including academic physicians, industry experts, patient advocates, regulatory agencies and third party payors shared their diverse perspectives about this important discussion. In addition to articulating the unique features of tumor immunotherapy and the value proposition for this form of treatment, the session resulted in a referendum on future directions and priorities for better defining the full value of tumor immunotherapy for patients with cancer.
As healthcare costs continue to rise, there has been profound interest in better understanding the value of current therapeutic strategies for the treatment of cancer. Historically, most oncologic drugs were evaluated for clinical benefit and potential toxicity prior to regulatory approval. Because many cancer drugs were associated with low response rates and high rates of adverse events, the high price of cancer drug development has recently been called into question. Warren Buffet is credited with saying that “price is what you pay, value is what you get”. Thus, a mandate to include an assessment of the real value of new cancer agents has become a high priority for clinicians, patients, payors and regulatory bodies in the United States and around the world.
Tumor immunotherapy is a new form of cancer treatment that has emerged as a clinically beneficial alternative for many types of cancer. It has been frequently characterized by durable responses and a very different pattern of adverse events compared to traditional cytotoxic chemotherapy or targeted therapies. To date, most value assessments in oncology have not focused on tumor immunotherapy resulting in uncertainty about the real value associated with this form of cancer treatment.
“We can now envision a world in which cancer is not a uniformly fatal disease, but rather a chronic, controllable disease—or even a curable, controllable one," said Howard L. Kaufman, MD, FACS, SITC President. “Today, SITC has taken the first step to articulate the real value of cancer immunotherapy and challenged industry, payors, clinicians, patients, and regulatory authorities to consider patient access to immunotherapy agents and begin a dialogue on defining mechanisms for the real world valuation of cancer immunotherapy."
Established in 1984, the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) is a non-profit organization of medical professionals dedicated to improving cancer patient outcomes by advancing the development, science and application of cancer immunotherapy and tumor immunology. SITC is comprised of influential basic and translational scientists, practitioners, healthcare professionals, government leaders and industry professionals around the globe. Through educational initiatives that foster scientific exchange and collaboration among leaders in the field, SITC aims to one day make the word “cure” a reality for cancer patients everywhere.
Since this session in 2015, SITC has been working to address and evaluate the value of cancer immunotherapy and will be hosting the Value of Cancer Immunotherapy Summit, Sunday, November 13, 2016 as part of its 31st Annual Meeting & Associated Programs. Visit the SITC 2016 website to learn more as information becomes available.