Immunotherapy in Cancer Care: Understanding the Impact of Shifting Treatment Paradigms in the Managed Care Setting | Page 6
Published Online: March 20, 2014
Dr Salgo asked panelists for their final thoughts.
Dr Weber: Immunotherapy has arrived. It’s only going to get better, and the best is yet to come. Americans will anguish about change; but as for the future of being a physician, I don’t think that much will change. I think there will still be a place for the great physician who has an intuitive grasp of what the best treatment for a patient is. I don’t see how we’re going to be hurt by being more data-driven. As a research oncologist, like Dr George, we’re certainly more data-driven than most, but a lot of what we do is not data-driven. I think the society, the patients, the insurers, will be better off when the practice of oncology, which we pursue, is done in a more rigorous and data-driven way. I don’t have any problems with that at all.
Dr George: I agree with Dr Weber and I’m very excited about the future of immunotherapy as well. I’m a little bit concerned that there is an educational lag, both for patients and for some providers, so there’s still a learning curve there like with any new modality. However, with immunotherapy branching into numerous fields and not simply a niche of oncology, we’re going to overcome that pretty quickly. I look forward to being able to be smarter about how we use our immunotherapies like with all our other therapies in precision medicine, helping identify the right patients. However, the oncologist will always play a role in making individual decisions on patients, and we can’t lose sight of that. We have to have mechanisms to do that. I think
the future is bright for oncology and immunotherapy, in particular.
Dr Kolodziej: As both an oncologist and as a person who works for a payer, but largely as an oncologist, we are living in a golden age. So much of work that has been done for a long time is coming now to fruition. We’re understanding personalized therapy. We’re understanding immunology. It is tremendously exciting. Some people might look at healthcare reform and
grappling with quality and value as a hardship. It’s an opportunity. It’s an opportunity for oncology, for the pharmaceutical industry, for the entire healthcare enterprise, to redefine itself. And, at the end of the day, we’ll have enhanced benefit for our members or our patients, we’ll have more transparency, and it will be driven by data.
Dr Salgo: I agree, this is a remarkable time. I have never seen so much excitement, so much real progress on the part of oncologists before. This is a magical time. Immunotherapy is something that is just ridiculously interesting and ridiculously exciting. It is heading us where we need to go and based on my experience in medicine and based on my experience with the folks I’ve met here, we’re going to get there.