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Hollywood, FL—Stakeholders from across the field of oncology gathered at the Third Annual Conference of the Association for Value-Based Cancer Care (AVBCC) to network and to explore ways to adapt to a rapidly changing landscape.

Hollywood, FL—For the first time, the Annual Conference of the Association for Value-Based Cancer Care (AVBCC) was addressed by a member of Congress. At this year’s conference, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who represents Florida’s 23rd District (which encompasses Hollywood), shared her personal experience with cancer and took the opportunity to discuss the impact of exclusive licensing of genes and their related laboratory tests on patient outcomes. Ms Schultz is on the side of the consumer patient—because she is one.

Washington, DC—More than 50% of patients with difficult-to-treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) had tumor shrinkage during 6 months of treatment with ibrutinib, results of a phase 2 clinical trial showed.

Hollywood, FL—Panelists at the 2013 National Comprehensive Cancer Net­work (NCCN) annual conference view the oncology world as rapidly changing, and the impact of this, for better or for worse, will be felt by healthcare providers, payers, and patients alike.

The role of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) mutations in the pathogenesis of the disease has not been fully understood, and many genomic mutations in AML remain unknown. A team of researchers has recently analyzed large databases of genetic mutations and has selected 200 adult cases of de novo AML for their new study, using a variety of methods of genomic sequencing (The Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network. N Engl J Med. 2013 May 1. [Epub ahead of print]).

Concerns for the cost implications of clinical decision-making by providers and health plans have increased significantly in the recent past, as well as the advice to consider cost in addition to efficacy as a part of the treatment paradigm. However, little research has been conducted to evaluate whether this concern has been reflected in the development of official clinical guidance issued by various medical groups and societies.

The issue of cost in clinical decision-making is increasingly becoming necessary in the face of growing healthcare costs, limited resources, and often limited access to care. Involving patients in the cost discussion has been suggested as a way to begin to curb the rising costs of care. A new study investigated the inclination of Americans with health insurance to discuss their willingness to have cost as part of the decision-making in their care (Sommers R, et al. Health Aff [Millwood]. 2013;32:338-346).

After a decade of developing molecular diagnostics for lung cancer, 3 organizations have issued the first guidelines for testing for the EGFR mutation and ALK rearrangement in patients with lung cancer, the number one cancer-related killer worldwide, providing a valuable new tool to fully utilize the benefits of targeted therapies for this patient population.   

Endometrial cancer is the fourth most common malignancy among American women. The National Cancer Institute estimates that close to 50,000 women will be diagnosed with endometrial cancer in 2013; for a majority of women with aggressive, high-grade tumors, the 5-year survival rate is approximately 16%.

Using data-sifting algorithms developed by computer scientists at Brown University, researchers are beginning to untangle the complex genetics of cancer. In a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, investigators have outlined the most complete genetic profile of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). This research is expected to lead to new treatments for AML based on the unique genetics of each patient.

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