Growing Importance of Community Oncologists in Clinical Research Evidenced by Large Number of Presentations at ASCO 2019

Attendees during the day at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Courtesy © ASCO/Scott Morgan
Attendees during the day at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Courtesy © ASCO/Scott Morgan

Investigators from McKesson, The US Oncology Network and US Oncology Research will present detailed findings from more than 60 studies during the 55th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

The large number of presentations demonstrate the importance and growing role of community oncologists in clinical research across multiple cancer types.

And Community Oncology is important to guarantee that patients receive quality care at appropriate costs in cancer clinics located right in their neighborhoods.

Today, more than 55% of patients in the United States receive oncology cancer care in their own community. The available data shows that, on average, the wait time between diagnosis and initial chemotherapy visit is about 7% shorter at community practices. And this applies in both urban and rural areas.

The availability is important, because cancer care requires frequent physician visits and close attention to detail and the ability to recognize changes in patient status. Care offered in the community, the area where patients are living, close to home is key to make these frequent visits as easy as possible. It also limits disrupting of a patient’s day-to-day life –including work and travel time. [1][2]

ASCO

The annual meeting, being held in Chicago, Ill. from May 31 to June 4, 2019, will bring together more than 35,000 oncology professionals from around the globe.

“ASCO continues to serve as a meaningful platform for community oncologists to share learnings and real-world evidence that advance therapies and care practices to foster the utmost care for oncology patients,” said Michael Seiden, MD, PhD, president, The US Oncology Network.

“As therapies continue to improve and become more personalized to the individual’s particular cancer, staying engaged in cutting-edge clinical trials and sharing our findings with forward-thinking colleagues in the oncology community help oncologists and researchers in The Network contribute in meaningful ways in the fight against cancer,” Seiden added.

Key Studies

Key study presentations during this year’s conference will include research on sarcoma, non-small cell metastatic lung cancer, hematologic malignancies (including leukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes), developmental immunotherapy and tumor immunobiology, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, developmental therapeutics and tumor biology and genitourinary (non-prostate) cancer. Some of these studies utilized high-quality real-world data captured from iKnowMed℠, McKesson’s oncology practice electronic health record (EHR) system that was named the top-ranked EHR platform for oncologists and hematologists for the eighth year in a row by Black Book™ Research.

Through McKesson’s Data, Evidence and Insights business, this rich, regulatory-grade data is leveraged to support biopharmaceutical real-world evidence needs.

“The increased role of real-world evidence is ever important in improving patient outcomes for individuals battling cancer,” said Nicholas Robert, MD, medical director of Data, Evidence & Insights, McKesson Life Sciences.

“Furthermore, regulatory agencies now consider these data sets as a part of a bigger picture when evaluating a therapeutic filing, especially in areas with unmet needs,” Robert further noted.

Debra Patt is a practicing oncologist and breast cancer specialist in Austin, Texas, and an executive vice president of Texas Oncology with responsibilities in healthcare policy and strategic initiatives. She is an active leader in breast cancer research, serves on the US Oncology Research breast cancer committee, and chairs the breast cancer subsection of the pathways task force for The US Oncology Network as well as the leader locally for breast cancer research. She has expertise in healthcare policy and has testified before Congress to protect access to care for Medicare beneficiaries. She is a leader in clinical cancer informatics, and is involved in system innovations to enhance care delivery across a national network of oncology practices. She is the Editor In Chief of the Journal of Clinical Oncology- Clinical Cancer Informatics. Her clinical informatics research focuses in imaging informatics for breast cancer, clinical decision support systems, predictive analytics to reduce risk in patients with advanced cancer, and quality improvement.

Recognition

During the 2019 annual meeting, Debra Patt, MD, MPH, MBA, of Texas Oncology, a practice in The US Oncology Network, will officially be recognized with her designation of Fellow of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (FASCO).

Patt is a long-standing member of the community oncologist community with more than 20 years of experience, and this designation honors the most active ASCO volunteers.

Patt also serves as editor-in-chief of JCO Clinical Cancer Informatics and is a member of ASCO’s Nominating Committee, White and Brown Bagging Committee, Clinical Practice Committee (CPC) Physician Compensation Workgroup, MACRA Speakers Group and CPC Payment Reform Implementation Workgroup.

“From harnessing data- and evidence-driven insights to breakthrough genetics-based scientific research, the pace of advancement in cancer treatment is more robust now than at any time in my career,” Patt said.

“New, more personalized treatments are revolutionizing oncology and delivering profound benefits to patients. We have witnessed the first cancer therapies approved by the FDA that have included real-world evidence. ASCO provides us with a glimpse of the future and the promise it holds for our patients. I’m honored to be named a recognized Fellow and to be able to bring real-world perspectives from community-based oncology to this outstanding organization,” she concluded.

Reference:

[1] Fortner B. Why community oncology matters. Pharmaceutical Commerce. Feb 27, 2013 [Article]

[2] FACT Sheet: What is Community Oncology? Online. Community Oncology Association (COA). Last accesses May 30, 2019 [Article]