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Conference Stories That Captivated AJMC® Readers in 2016


A glimpse at the top 5 articles from The American Journal of Managed Care's® conference coverage that caught reader attention in 2016.

Conferences around healthcare policy, managed care, diabetes, oncology, cardiology, and rheumatology—The American Journal of Managed Care® covers them all. A virtual source of information for those who cannot attend the meetings in person or an additional source of information for those who may have missed sessions of interest, our conference coverage provides an in-depth look at the most recent developments in healthcare. Here’s a glimpse of the top 5 articles that caught reader attention in 2016:

5. CAR-T cell treatment in liquid tumors. An innovative approach in cancer, immune-based treatments have proven successful for numerous other diseases. While immune checkpoint inhibitors, which target specific proteins in the immune response pathway, have seen tremendous success, significant hope is also being pinned on chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cells. During a session at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology this year, Cameron John Turtle, MBBS, PhD, from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, presented results from a phase 1/2 trial in which patients with relapsed or refractory CD19+ B-cell malignancies (acute lymphocytic leukemia, ALL; non-Hodgkin lymphoma, NHL; and chronic lymphocytic leukemia, CLL) received CD19 CAR-T cells. According to Turtle, adoptive therapy with CD19 CAR-T cells of defined subset composition results in durable complete response in a high fraction of patients with relapsed/refractory ALL, NHL, and CLL.

4. Important role for pharmacists in ACOs. An accountable care organization (ACO) is a care delivery model that has emerged out of the movement toward value-based care delivery, and according to Tina Joseph, PharmD, BCACP, and Reena Jones, PharmD, CPh, pharmacists can play a vital role in ACOs. Speaking at the AMCP Managed Care & Specialty Pharmacy Annual Meeting 2016, Joseph told the audience that medication management remains an untapped aspect of ACOs, and pharmacists can play a key role in counseling patients and providing prescription advice to physicians. Pharmacists, according to Jones, can also help patients transition from hospital- to home-based care.

3. PBM excitement about new drugs. At the beginning of 2016, Aimee Tharaldson, PharmD, senior clinical consultant of emerging therapies at Express Scripts, said in early 2016 that she has her eyes on 2 breakthrough therapies, both biologics. One is for multiple sclerosis (MS), ocrelizumab, which is “going to be the first MS drug approved for primary progressive MS,” she said. The other drug is for atopic dermatitis, dupilumab, which she said “would be reserved for patients with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis who can't be well controlled on currently available therapies.”

The Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) date for ocrelizumab has been extended from December 2016 to March 28, 2017. The PDUFA date for dupilumab is March 29, 2017.

2. Insulin combination with GLP-1 agonist. At the 76th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association (ADA), results for a new insulin from Novo Nordisk, and those for competing insulin/glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) combination therapies from Novo and Sanofi drew a lot of attention. One set of results, presented at an oral poster session, showed that the insulin degludec injection U-100 resulted in lower rates of hypoglycemia in patients with type 1 (T1D) and type 2 diabetes (T2D). Called the SWITCH trials, SWITCH 1 examined patients with type 1 while SWITCH 2 examined patients with type 2. Other combination studies presented at the meeting included results from LixiLan-O, LixiLan-L, and DUAL V.

1. Liraglutide significantly reduced CV death. Results from another trial that were presented at the ADA—the LEADER trial—showed that T2D therapy liraglutide (Victoza), also a GLP-1 inhibitor, reduces the risk of cardiovascular (CV) death by 22%, cuts the risk of death from any cause by 15%, and reduces major CV events by 13%. “The reduction of CV mortality is clearly the major benefit identified in the study, beyond liraglutide’s primary purpose of lowering blood sugar and providing modest weight loss benefits,” said Steven Marso, MD, of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and lead author of the study, during a press briefing.

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