Posts Tagged ‘American Association for Cancer Research’

Next Steps To Turn the Tide Against Cancer

October 29, 2014

Three weeks ago, 200+ health care leaders representing a broad spectrum of stakeholders convened in Washington, D.C., for the second conference of the Turning the Tide Against Cancer Through Sustained Medical Innovation initiative. There were intense discussions — among panelists and in the hallways between sessions — on the challenges facing cancer research and care.

Now back at our desks, the question arises, what do we want to do next — as individuals, as a community, and as a nation? And, critically, what must we do next to enable and encourage innovation in cancer research?

In 2011, Feinstein Kean Healthcare joined forces with the Personalized Medicine Coalition (PMC) and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) to create the Turning the Tide Against Cancer initiative, in response to disconnects within the health care system that threatened to stifle advances, ironically at an unprecedented moment of scientific progress.

We saw disconnects between patients and the health care system…disconnects between the accelerating pace of science and the slowness of change in our policy environment…and disconnects between the exigencies of driving innovation and the sober realities of a cost-contained era.

As we observed these disconnects, we also noted that as a nation we were attempting to solve complex problems while operating within traditional vertical silos (e.g., patients in patient advocacy organizations; physicians in physician professional societies; researchers in scientific societies) rather than cross-sector collaborations.

And so, we sought to catalyze the entire cancer and health policy community towards action by connecting all stakeholders through the Turning the Tide Against Cancer initiative. Uniquely, stakeholders from across the cancer ecosystem have been represented in all events and deliberations of the initiative.

Now, building upon several years of intellectual exploration, research, dialogue, debate and the deliberations of the broad range of experts that produced the Issue Brief, “A Pathway for Change: Supporting the Shift to Patient-Centered Cancer Research and Care and Addressing Value and Cost of Cancer Care” released at the conference, we ask again, what’s next?

I propose that every individual touched by cancer, and every organization concerned about the nation’s cancer burden, take responsibility for three actions.

  1. Review the Issue Brief, and share your thoughts/ideas about the policy options and/or propose other options.
  2. Involve your organization in the Turning the Tide Against Cancer Through Sustained Medical Innovation initiative, by participating in our activities and events.
  3. Join our partners PMC and AACR and advocate for those options that you agree with, integrating them into your own policy platforms and your communications with policymakers in order to drive momentum and catalyze change.

In the past, individual champions such as the renowned Mary Lasker were a driving force to advance and change our approach to cancer research and care. As Dr. Len Lichtenfeld of the American Cancer Society asked following the first Turning the Tide Against Cancer conference, “Where is our Mary Lasker going to come from? …Who is going to guide this revolution?

I believe that in this era, we are all destined and empowered to be leaders. And as I looked out at the attendees of the Turning the Tide Against Cancer conference, I saw Mary Lasker in the face of each participant. We are all Mary Lasker. We must all be Mary Lasker.

Please join us as we take the next step.

Turning the Tide Against Cancer: Collaboration to Improve Outcomes

October 6, 2014

Over the past few weeks, the Age of Personalized Medicine editorial team has been talking to leaders from the co-convening organizations of the second Turning the Tide Against Cancer Through Sustain Medical Innovation national conference, which will be held on October 9, 2014, in Washington, D.C.

Our conversation with Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), chief executive officer of the American Association for Cancer Research, on the need for continued collaboration across the diverse spectrum of stakeholders in the cancer community, can be viewed below.

We also heard from Edward Abrahams Ph.D., president of the Personalized Medicine Coalition and Marcia A. Kean, M.B.A., chairman of Feinstein Kean Healthcare, on the need for policies that encourage and keep pace with innovation in cancer research and personalized medicine.

Visit the Turning the Tide Against Cancer website to register for the conference and learn more about ways you or your organization can support the ongoing initiative. If you are unable to attend the conference in person, please join us via webcast on October 9 by visiting the Turning the Tide Against Cancer homepage. The Age of Personalized Medicine will also be tweeting live from the conference using #T3cancer.

The Pathway to Progress: An update from the Turning the Tide Against Cancer initiative

March 6, 2014

Recent advances in cancer research have expanded our understanding of how cancer develops, and how to target treatments for specific cancer types. However, cancer – a collective term to describe more than 200 unique diseases – remains the second most common cause of disease-related death in the United States according to the AACR Cancer Progress Report 2013.

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) supports the need for ongoing research and the translation of scientific discoveries into new and better ways to prevent, detect, diagnose and treat cancer. To that end, along with the Personalized Medicine Coalition (PMC) and Feinstein Kean Healthcare (FKH), the Turning the Tide Against Cancer national conference was convened in 2012.

As members across all stakeholder groups joined together to consider the status and future of innovation in cancer research and care, it became clear that an ongoing discussion was needed to sustain progress against cancer. Today, the conference has evolved into an initiative to unite stakeholders within the cancer community to identify specific policy proposals policies that align with emerging science and evolving perceptions of value.

Last week, Clinical Cancer Research published an article authored by members of the initiative’s advisory committee. “Turning the Tide Against Cancer Through Sustained Medical Innovation: The Pathway to Progress” examines the themes that have emerged from ongoing discussions in the cancer stakeholder community. Key points of discussion include the need to develop policies and regulatory pathways that reward innovation and acknowledge the unique dynamics of patient-centered cancer care.

The report also points out that while we have a greater ability to collect and analyze scientific information than at any other point in medical history, a deluge of data alone will not answer the basic question of how value is defined. I encourage you to review the article to learn more about the challenges of defining value in a field where patient experiences and expectations can vary widely based on their clinical and life circumstances and personal preferences.

To address some of these challenges, the authors have identified policy suggestions that move towards better alignment with patient needs and values, and also consider the way science and clinical practice evolves over time, including incentivizing patient-centered research and care, and promoting a learning health care system. These are not prescriptive, but rather are a call for further discussion and community action. This fall, AACR, PMC and FKH will convene a national conference in Washington, D.C., to explore specific policy solutions that have emerged from our continued work. These policy solutions seek to foster continued innovation in cancer research and care so that improved outcomes for patients are delivered. Please stay tuned for additional information in the coming weeks.

To learn more, please visit

Read the article, “Turning the Tide Against Cancer Through Sustained Medical Innovation: The Pathway to Progress”.

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