Lot going on in cancer care, data mining, cancer immunotherapy funding last week I thought worth sharing. Clinical pathways, moonshot, data warehousing/mining, IT, immunotherapy to be key words in cancer care, treatment and research for the foreseeable future. Is all of this activity helping or hurting large scale collaborations? Are ACS and ASCO talking with each other and personal individuals putting up significant resources compared with our own government for collaboration?
ASCO’s Pathway Policy Statement Explained
In a piece for the American Journal of Managed Care (4/12, Zon), Robin T. Zon, MD, FACP, FASCO, wrote on the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Clinical Pathways in Oncology statement. Dr. Zon noted that “clinical pathways are one of the tools being adopted to meet the aims of better managing utilization by reducing unnecessary and costly treatment variation, while meeting the stated goals of enhancing quality and value.” She adds that “ASCO’s clinical practice guidelines provide critical guidance to practicing oncologists and represent ASCO’s efforts to ensure that evidence-based medicine is the gold standard in oncology.” Zon points out that “clinical pathways represent another important tool for promoting high-quality, high-value cancer care.” In response to concerns from ASCO members regarding the proliferation of pathways in oncology, ASCO “established an ad hoc Task Force on Clinical Pathways last year to examine” the issue. The policy statement issued by the Task Force in January sought “to guide the future development and implementation of” pathways and “serves to convey a cautionary note, that we must be thoughtful and deliberate in the development and implementation of pathways to ensure that our patients receive the best and most appropriate evidence-based cancer care possible, as well as have access to well-designed clinical trials.”
IBM, ACS Announce Partnership To Create Service For People Fighting Cancer
Fortune (4/12) reported IBM and the American Cancer Society announced a partnership to create “a service that will provide cancer patients, survivors and caregivers personalized access to vetted cancer resources.” The Watson Health initiative, announced Tuesday by CEO Ginni Rometty, “will combine the power of …Watson, with the wealth of cancer research and patient support services provided by” ACS. Watson will “ingest” the “over 14,000 pages of vetted, detailed information across more than 70 cancer topics” assembled by ACS along with “risk reduction and early detection information–most of it currently accessible on its website cancer.org.”
The Boston Business Journal (4/12) reported in its “Health Care Inc.” blog that “a tool for the U.S. market will likely be on the market by early next year, but the organizations also have hopes to expand the program internationally.” Healthcare IT News, Fierce Medical Devices and ComputerWorld also covered the story.
Founding Facebook President Donates $250 Million To Cancer Immunotherapy Centers
USA Today (4/12) and other media outlets reported billionaire Sean Parker, the founding president of Facebook, announced Tuesday he is giving $250 million to six cancer immunotherapy centers nationwide, one of the largest donations ever for cancer research. Parker says immune therapy is currently only approved as a last resort treatment, but he wants to make it a “front-line treatment,” because it “would change the whole cost of care downstream.” The article notes Parker’s donation comes three months after President Obama called for a $1 billion federal cancer research program that he referred to as a “moonshot.”