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October 5, 2016

NPAF Applauds Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel Report

2016-10-05 | September 8, 2016

(Washington, DC) — National Patient Advocate Foundation today applauded the Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon report for its emphasis on direct patient involvement and its potential for enhancing patients’ quality of life.

“The recommendations for action marry together areas of progress in which we’ve seen advances, but often in silos,” said Alan Balch, CEO of NPAF. “Aligning these advances in technology, science, big data, prevention, social science and patient advocacy could accelerate progress and improve value for patients.”

During his final State of the Union address in January 2016, President Obama tasked Vice President Biden with heading an initiative to make a decade’s worth of progress in cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment in just five years.

The panel prioritizes a number of recommendations in which to engage patients in the research process, through development of a network for comprehensive tumor profiling, a cancer immunotherapy clinical trials network, a national cancer data ecosystem, and patient-reported symptom management research. These direct patient engagement channels offer patients the opportunity to potentially access improved care and knowledge about their own cancers, while contributing to finding new and improved therapies.

“Every parent with a sick child, every patient spending yet another night in the hospital, every caregiver trying to make ends meet — they all understand the urgency with which we must approach cancer research,” said Balch.

The panel also addresses symptom management research, which is essential to improving patient quality of life during treatment and improving treatment outcomes and adherence to therapy. More effective deployment of symptom management has enormous potential to improve provider/patient communication, functionality, more effective treatment, and lower costs.

However, as noted in the report, several working groups identified areas of policy need outside of the scope of the Blue Ribbon Panel. Unless many or all of these and others are addressed concurrently, progress as identified above could be handicapped.  Addressing policy reforms concurrently In areas such as coverage and reimbursement, fragmentation of delivery of care, clinical trial delivery and access, federal funding models and financial toxicity is essential to success.