In a discussion moderated by Peter Salgo, MD, panelists Jeffrey Weber, MD, PhD, Michael Kolodziej, MD, and Daniel J. George, MD, share their insights and perspectives about cancer immunotherapy in the managed care setting.
Dr Salgo opens up the discussion with some facts about cancer and claims that cancer is currently recognized as the “global pandemic” that killed more than 600,000 US persons in 2012 alone. Despite its deep history, the potential of cancer immunotherapy has only been tapped into recently. Due to the high costs of treatment, cancer immunotherapy is debatable. Dr Salgo explains that a majority of the immunotherapy drugs approved by the US Food and Drug Administration cost over $100,000 per year.
Regardless of these costs, Dr George believes we need to take advantage of this therapy option, as it has proved more effective than standard therapy options such as chemotherapy and radiation when treating several types of cancer.
Dr George continues the discussion with an explanation about how cancer immunotherapy works. Dr Weber concludes by defining immunotherapy as a “targeted therapy,” and cites Provenge, a targeted therapy cancer vaccine, as an example.