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Highlights and Roundup of ASCO 2016

IP Blog | Dave Melin | June 6, 2016

ASCO - American Society of Clinical OncologyThis week in healthcare: highlights from ASCO including ASCO’s updated Value Framework, and Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks on Moonshot Initiative.

How Can Patients Get Their Money’s Worth from Cancer Meds? ASCO Revamps ‘Value’ Tool to Help Decide

After rolling out a new value-assessment tool last year, ASCO has now released an updated version of their “Value Framework” and announced future plans to create “a software tool that doctors can use to help patients make decisions about treatment.”

Vice President Joe Biden Discusses Cancer Moonshot Initiative During ASCO 2016

During a speech to attendees at the recent ASCO meeting, Vice President Joe Biden said “The whole world is looking to you. Your success can literally change the world. We need you now more than we ever have.” Biden also mentioned NCI’s new Genomic Data Commons big data collection project.

How Oncologists Can Prepare for MACRA

As the implementation of MACRA, which replaced the former Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) reimbursement plan, draws near, here are some practical tips breaking down what MACRA will look like when it goes into effect for 2017.

The Ever-Escalating Cost of Cancer Drugs

According to a recent study, “The total cost of oncology drugs and supportive care medications surged 11.5 percent in 2015 to reach $107 billion globally” and is predicted to continue to grow “faster than the rate of inflation.”

Medicare, BCBS Most Favored Payers among Ambulatory Care Providers

A recent survey of ambulatory care providers found that “despite its reputation in the political arena, Medicare is a highly favored payer among ambulatory care providers” while “UnitedHealthcare has the most contracts with providers, but is the least liked of all payers examined.” Blue Cross Blue Shield was the second most favored.

ACOs Add Telehealth, Despite Regulatory, Reimbursement Barriers to Implementation

ACOs are beginning to embrace telehealth — a 2015 survey found that “20% of all ACOs now use some form of telemedicine” — but this is despite significant regulatory and reimbursement barriers discussed in this article.

Cigna Makes Deals with Pharma to Base Contracts on Drug Outcomes

Cigna recently announced two separate deals with Amgen and Sanofi that factor into their larger strategy. A Cigna spokesperson had this to say about the deals: “We think it is essential that in addition to negotiating great unit prices, we start aligning manufacturers with how their products are performing in the real world, both clinically and from a financial outcome perspective.”

Adding Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy Slows Ovarian Cancer Progression

A study featured at the recent ASCO meeting showed that “for women who were initially treated with chemotherapy prior to surgery (e.g., neoadjuvant therapy), the initial results from a randomized phase II trial show that 23.3% of women who received IP and IV chemotherapy had disease progression at nine months, vs. 42.2% of those who received IV chemotherapy alone.”

Precision Medicine Approach May Expand Therapeutic Options for Patients

In a clinical trial featured at the recent ASCO meeting where “patients with molecular abnormalities in the tumor” were matched with “corresponding targeted treatments,” “twenty-nine of 129 patients with 12 different types of advanced cancers responded to drugs outside of FDA-approved indications.”

Jack Andraka Reflects on His Work in Cancer

Jack Andraka revolutionized pancreatic cancer testing when he “developed an inexpensive blood test for pancreatic cancer…, which works like a diabetes strip, [and] detects overexpressed mesothelin in the blood, a known marker of early-stage pancreatic cancer.” Oh yeah — and he was only 15 at the time.

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