In the last decade, scientific advances in the medical environment have allowed us to identify the underlying causes of major diseases with increased understanding—leading the way towards personalized medicine. In this new era, each patient requires adapted treatments, drugs and therapies tailored to his or her unique disease and medical traits. Cancer is the most advanced arena in which personalized approaches to therapy are being addressed.
With this in mind, Accenture recently published an executive summary of its closed door session with the National Cancer Institute and more than 60 experts from academia, agency and the pharmaceutical industry during the ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago.
The group discussed the growing importance of diagnostic testing in this new era of scientific discoveries. One test and one drug will not serve the needs of individual patients as well as multiple assays on a single specimen, since the prevalence of each molecular abnormality may be low, and there may be several "actionable" molecular abnormalities in a single disease.
The new opportunities in diagnostically driven clinical trials have led to a variety of global efforts. In France, most molecular tests are already coordinated and performed at the national level. Indeed, following the initiative of the French government’s National Cancer Plan, all cancer patients in France get offered, through core national laboratories, a molecular diagnostic of their tumor in order to improve the treatment outcomes. In the United Kingdom, national leaders have implemented a diagnosis initiative for the last three years and are expanding. In the United States, a variety of clinical trials have begun in order to take advantage of the revolution in cancer diagnostics.
In order to benefit from the advances in medicine and our understanding of cancer, major systematic synergies between treatments and diagnostics need to be implemented by governments, healthcare providers and the industry. As this progress helps us to better understand how to improve patients’ lives through increased knowledge of the human body, the age of personalized medicine also announces a paradigm shift in how medicine is done. Indeed, before this revolution, all patients received the same treatment for the same disease. Tomorrow, patients might receive a unique drug adapted to their own needs. This change means that government and industry must rethink the way they envision the economics of healthcare.
Click here to read the full executive summary of Accenture’s session with the National Cancer Institute and more than 60 experts from academia, agency and the pharmaceutical industry during the ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago.