Institute for Clinical Immuno-Oncology White Paper Highlights Challenges, Progress, and Priorities in Immunotherapy
Momentum around immunotherapies for cancer continues to build, but the high cost of these therapies places them at the center of debate about how best to define and measure value in cancer care. As these therapies are increasingly integrated into practice, all stakeholders—providers, patients, payers, and manufacturers—need to keep pace with emerging developments and real-world challenges. A new white paper from the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) Institute for Clinical Immuno-Oncology (ICLIO) highlights immunotherapy research from 2016; emerging policy issues and challenges that may impact the future of immuno-oncology in practice; and ICLIO resources to support the multidisciplinary cancer care team in delivering immunotherapies for cancer.
The white paper, Immuno-Oncology: There’s More to Discover, spotlights top-level concerns for the future of immunotherapy in practice, including the following:
- Payer and coverage policies continue to pose barriers to access to immunotherapies for cancer. Thus, providers in the community have an ongoing need for education and strategies to effectively address prior authorization requirements, claims denials, and expanded access to clinical trials.
- Patients are driving discussions about expanded access to immunotherapies. Direct-to-consumer and other media advertising is fueling interest in immunotherapies. At the same time, this consumer interest is requiring ongoing education, so consumers understand the patient populations for whom these therapies are appropriate and to both providers and patients are equipped to discuss the benefits and risks of a particular immunotherapy.
- Recognition and management of immune-related adverse events continue to create additional expense and resource requirements across the continuum of care. Community providers are likely to see increasing challenges in this area as new indications and new combination therapies are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Education on how to leverage operational assets and marshal resources to adequately recognize and manage immune-related adverse events will continue to be important.
- Alternative payment models focused on value-based reimbursement must include input and buy-in from the oncology community. There is concern that alternative payment models could be developed without oncologist input, peer review, or evidence concerning immunotherapies for cancer. Ultimately, alternative payment models will need to create and utilize quality measures that promote innovation rather than simply drive down costs, because it is often challenging to identify what a therapy’s value is until providers use it in a real-world context.
Growing Portfolio of Resources
As immunotherapy for cancer continues to evolve, clinical, administrative, and infrastructural operations education is increasingly important. Coming in 2017 to ICLIO’s growing portfolio of resources to meet these educational needs:
- Tailored support and education through the ground-breaking ICLIO Visiting Experts program. Go to http://accc-iclio.org/about/iclio-visiting-experts-2 for more about this educational program.
- Role-specific e-learning modules for oncologists, nurses/nurse navigators, and pharmacists. View more about these online courses at http://accc-iclio.org/elearning.
- Tumor-specific toolkits for immunotherapy in lung cancer, melanoma, and emerging tumor types. These toolkits will feature multimedia content curated by leading experts.
Download the ICLIO white paper and view all ICLIO resources at accc-iclio.org. ■