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Conference to Examine Actions and Policies Needed to Catalyze Progress in Personalized Cancer Medicine Despite Challenging Fiscal Environment

June 11, 2012
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Leaders in cancer community to focus on how we define value, address need for health care cost containment and sustain innovation to turn the tide against cancer

Washington, D.C. – June 11, 2012 – On Tuesday, June 12, in Washington, D.C., the Personalized Medicine Coalition, the American Association for Cancer Research and Feinstein Kean Healthcare will convene “Turning the Tide Against Cancer Through Sustained Medical Innovation,” a national conference to consider the status and future of cancer innovation and personalized medicine. While recent scientific advances have generated both excitement and challenges in preventing, detecting, diagnosing and treating cancer, there is increasing recognition that our national policies are far from optimal in this new era of rapidly advancing personalized oncology.

“We need to bridge the gap between the science and the patient by enacting public policies that are appropriately aligned to sustain progress in personalized medicine and improve cancer care,” said Edward Abrahams, Ph.D., president of the Personalized Medicine Coalition. “Smarter regulations to encourage targeted therapeutics, more appropriate payment policies and a government-wide commitment to advancing personalized medicine are needed to translate our emerging understanding of the causes of cancer into treatments that improve outcomes as well as lower overall health care costs.”

The conference is designed to help policymakers understand the value of new cancer treatments and technologies and to identify opportunities to accelerate progress in cancer care through policy at a time when fiscal discipline and attempts to contain rising health care costs dominate policy conversations.

“Progress against cancer has reached a critical inflection point; where our ever-increasing understanding of the molecular basis of disease, combined with our relentless effort to apply these insights into clinical care, is forming the foundation of personalized cancer care,” said Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), chief executive officer of the American Association for Cancer Research. “However, policy changes are going to be required to accelerate this progress and improve patient care in an era of health care cost containment.”

Keynote speakers at the conference are Siddhartha Mukherjee, M.D., Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer”; John Mendelsohn, M.D., of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; and Mark McClellan, M.D., Ph.D., of the Brookings Institution. Additionally, distinguished panelists will address innovative models for cancer research and care, the need to define value in cancer innovation and policies to sustain progress and turn the tide against cancer.

In preparation for the conference, Feinstein Kean Healthcare developed and produced a Discussion Paper, “Sustaining Progress Against Cancer in an Era of Cost Containment,” based on interviews with more than 30 experts and thought leaders in the cancer community.  

“There is overwhelming agreement in the cancer community that we are at a special juncture with huge opportunity to make progress in our fight against cancer. Whether we seize that opportunity is up to us,” said Marcia A. Kean, M.B.A., chairman of Feinstein Kean Healthcare and editor of the Discussion Paper. “Moving forward, all of us who are used to existing in separate silos must now work differently in a coordinated, systematic and transparent way to ‘turn the tide against cancer,’ or risk drowning in the clinical and economic burdens of the disease.”

More than 300 attendees from the cancer community are registered to attend the conference, which is at capacity. Members of the media should call or email Jennifer Cosenza — (202) 729-4074, jennifer.cosenza@fkhealth.com — to obtain press credentials.

Portions of the conference will be streamed live at www.TurningTheTideAgainstCancer.org. Participants are encouraged to add to the conversation on Twitter using the conference hash tag #TurnTheTide.

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About the Personalized Medicine Coalition (PMC):
The Personalized Medicine Coalition representing scientists, patients, providers and payers, promotes the understanding and adoption of personalized medicine concepts, services and products to benefit patients and the health system. An education and advocacy organization launched in 2004 and numbering more than 220 institutions from around the world, PMC focuses exclusively on personalized medicine. By tailoring medical treatment to the individual characteristics of each patient so that preventive and therapeutic interventions can be concentrated on those who will benefit, sparing expense and side effects for those who will not, PMC envisions a more efficient healthcare system that improves care and increases value. For more information about PMC, visit www.personalizedmedicinecoalition.org.

About the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR):
Founded in 1907, the American Association for Cancer Research is the world’s first and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research and its mission to prevent and cure cancer. AACR’s membership includes 34,000 laboratory, translational and clinical researchers; population scientists; other health care professionals; and cancer advocates residing in more than 90 countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise of the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, biology, diagnosis and treatment of cancer by annually convening more than 20 conferences and educational workshops, the largest of which is the AACR Annual Meeting with more than 17,000 attendees. In addition, the AACR publishes seven peer-reviewed scientific journals and a magazine for cancer survivors, patients and their caregivers. The AACR funds meritorious research directly as well as in cooperation with numerous cancer organizations. As the Scientific Partner of Stand Up To Cancer, the AACR provides expert peer review, grants administration and scientific oversight of individual and team science grants in cancer research that have the potential for near-term patient benefit. The AACR actively communicates with legislators and policymakers about the value of cancer research and related biomedical science in saving lives from cancer. For more information about the AACR, visit www.AACR.org.

About Feinstein Kean Healthcare (FKH):

Feinstein Kean Healthcare is a leading strategy and communications partner for emerging and established organizations whose innovations are helping to transform life sciences and healthcare. The firm works with clients at the intersection where disruptive technologies and ideas influence medicine, clinical research and practice, business models, public policy, and public opinion and behaviors. For 25 years, FKH has been a trusted partner to leading pharmaceutical, healthcare, technology, biotechnology, informatics and patient advocacy organizations. Hundreds of clients have turned to FKH to develop and execute programs that drive product commercialization, forge partnerships, transform markets, build constituencies and help to shape policies. FKH established the first personalized medicine practice in the nation in 2004, and has worked with commercial, academic and government innovators to advance adoption of personalized medicine approaches ever since. For more information about FKH, visit www.fkhealth.com.

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Gwen Gordon
(202) 580-5019
ggordon@personalizedmedicinecoalition.org

Jeremy Moore
(609) 519-0212
jeremy.moore@aacr.org

Jennifer Cosenza
(202) 729-4074
jennifer.cosenza@fkhealth.com

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