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October 15, 2015
Using collaboration and integration to drive innovation and progress in cancer
By: Edouard Lassalle

Remarks from The Economist’s Health Care Forum: War on Cancer event on the opportunities and challenges ahead for the healthcare system.

The Health Care Forum: War on Cancer, held on September 29, 2015 in Boston, MA is a full-day conference designed for leaders in healthcare to discuss the opportunities and challenges ahead for the healthcare system. The event, hosted by The Economist, provides attendees with a forum for networking and discovering the latest industry developments, while bringing together cross-sector stakeholders into dialogue on cancer.

This year, the event sought to explore the role of collaboration and integration in driving innovation and progress in cancer care. The event also focused on innovative approaches and solutions across policy and financing, prevention, early detection, treatment and the long-term management of this deadly disease. Other featured topics included:

  • The economics of global cancer care.
  • Re-inventing patient-centered cancer care.
  • Improving the business of cancer research.
  • Data sharing: Can cancer be cured in real time?
  • New payment models for lowering costs.
  • Shaping regulation for innovation in treatment.
  • Finding market gaps: From prevention to diagnosis, what solutions are most scalable?
  • Case studies on collaborative efforts that improved outcomes and lowered costs.

The quality of speakers at this event was fantastic, including speakers such as Bahija Jallal (Executive vice-president, Astrazeneca and head, MedImmune) who talked about new approaches to diagnostics and therapies, and Otis Brawley (Chief medical and scientific officer, executive vice-president of research, American Cancer Society) who talked about genetics, the environment and behaving better. Check out the full roster of speakers and agenda.

For me, the main takeaways of the day included:

  • Technology is making leaps and bounds. Wearable technology, big data analytics and ever more affordable genomics are changing healthcare, from being reactive to proactive.
  • The way we do clinical research has to change—to be more continuous and less fragmented—if we want to bring drugs to market sooner. Multiple other elements, including combination therapies and real world evidence are also changing the way pharma can and must go to market.
  • The cost of cancer drugs is still a massive challenge that will be met with increasing violence by payers and prescribers unless pharma can demonstrate the added value they provide and price their drugs accordingly instead of just going as high as they think they can go.

It seems more and more likely that the biggest breakthroughs in cancer diagnostics and therapies will come within our lifetimes. We may never be completely cancer-free, but we’ll be a lot closer to that state if we continue to share information about technologies, costs and choices.

This was a wonderful event, providing leaders and stakeholders in the healthcare field a unique opportunity to meet and discuss the oncology space. If you’d like to know more, join us on Twitter using the hashtag #WarOnCancer.

For additional information on this topic, read about the outcomes of the 2015 Accenture-US National Cancer Institute panel: Searching for Value in Cancer Therapies

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