Immunotherapy - Episode 1
As the panelists discuss cancer immunotherapy, Daniel J. George, MD, recognizes the tremendous amount of progress made in the development of immunotherapy agents. Dr George explains that as immunotherapy continues to evolve, the therapy option is now branching out to treat an entire host of tumors for all different stages of cancer, whereas in the past, immunotherapy played a role mainly in bladder cancer.
Jeffrey Weber, MD, PhD, discusses how immunotherapy agents can be divided into 4 or 5 categories. Vaccines such as ipilmumab are among the most promising.
As exciting as the future looks, Michael Kolodziej, MD, is concerned about the cost of cancer immunotherapy drugs. Dr Kolodziej explains that these new therapies are very expensive, and is further concerned about the costs, as therapies are sometimes combined.
Dr George argues that the expense of these agents forces patients and their providers to stick to FDA-labeled treatments, whereas in the past, patients were treated off-label in certain instances. It is now too expensive to go off-label, and it is important that treatment decisions be data driven rather than focused on cost.
Unfortunately, Dr Weber argues, not all data are reflected on a drug’s label or package insert.