WASHINGTON, D.C. – How do patients, doctors, insurers and the government define the value of cancer treatment? How do drugs stack up against one another from a value perspective? Is personalizing treatment a realistic goal and can it increase the value of care?
The answers to these questions are not simple – nor are they without controversy. But John Marshall, MD, of Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, says the conversation is an important one to have, and is long overdue. He points out that as the political debate continues over health care reform especially related to reducing the national budget shortfall, it is important to have a variety voices heard and sitting around the table .
To address the topic, Georgetown Lombardi is hosting a symposium on December 1st, 2nd and 3rd, 2011 in Washington, DC. “Fighting a Smarter War Against Cancer: Linking Policy to the Patient,” is sponsored by the Otto J. Ruesch Center for the Cure of Gastrointestinal Cancers at Georgetown Lombardi. The symposium will be held on the campuses of Georgetown University and Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C.
The Ruesch Center has invited thought leaders representing the major stakeholders, including the Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, National Institutes of Health, the private insurance industry, the biotechnology industry, legal and bioethics groups, patient advocacy groups, and practicing physicians, to define “value in cancer care” from their perspectives.
“We need to give our regulators some targets to define value. They need to include those of us who practice medicine in the discussion, and they will need to include patients in the discussion of what’s worth it, that is, what should we be spending our tax dollars on and what shouldn’t we be?” says Marshall, a medical oncologist who directs the Ruesch Center.
The symposium will be divided into three parts; all are free and open to the public, bur registration is requested.
Thursday, December 1; 12:45 to 3:00 pm
Speakers will share their perspectives on the timely topic: “Health Care Reform: Opportunity or Sacrifice?” David J. Kerr, MD, who helped reform the United Kingdom’s National Health Service and has advised two British prime ministers on health care policy, will present the keynote lecture.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) will deliver introductory comments. The Dec. 1 event will be held in the Lohrfink Auditorium of the Rafik Hariri Building on the Georgetown University main campus.
Friday, December 2; 12:30 to 5:00 pm
The topic of day two will be “Defining Value in Cancer Care.” A variety of speakers and panel discussions will address the cost of cancer care in the United States, and the impact of guideline-based medicine, among other topics. Friday’s event will be held at the Georgetown University Law Center and will include introductory comments from M. Gregg Bloche, MD, JD, law professor at Georgetown University Law Center and author of The Hippocratic Myth: Why Doctors Are Under Pressure to Ration Care, Practice Politics, and Compromise Their Promise to Heal.
Saturday, December 3, 8:30 am to 1:00 pm
The symposium will shift gears to focus on patient care issues and will seek to tie the policy discussion back to the patient. Titled “Navigating Cancer Care: What Every Patient Should Know,” the Saturday event will offer insight from noted Georgetown faculty in cancer research and personalized medicine.
Among a list of esteemed speakers for the three-day event are: Louis B. Jacques, MD, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; Ira M. Klein, MD, Aetna, Inc.; Gregory H. Reaman, MD, U.S. Food and Drug Administration; Mona Sabharwal, BScPhm, Pharm D, RPh, Pan-Canadian Oncology Drug Review; Margaret Mahon, PhD, RN, FAAN, George Mason University; Thomas J. Smith, MD, FACP, The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center; Paul J. Wallace, MD, Center for Comparative Effectiveness Research, The Lewin Group; Jordan D. Berlin, MD, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center; Antonio Tito Fojo, MD, PhD, National Cancer Institute; and Louis M. Weiner, MD, Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.
More information on the Ruesch Center 2011 Symposium, including a full agenda for each day and a link to register, can be found at www.rueschcenter.org/symposium2011.
About the Ruesch Center
The Otto J. Ruesch Center for the Cure of Gastrointestinal Cancers, part of Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, was founded in 2009 to refocus national efforts on curing cancers of the gastrointestinal tract. Combining expertise in molecular medicine, translational research and a patient-centered philosophy, the Ruesch Center seeks to realize the dream of individualized curative therapies through research, care, and advocacy.
The center is directed by John L. Marshall, MD, a global leader in the research and development of drugs for colon cancer and other GI cancers. Learn more at www.rueschcenter.org.
About Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of Georgetown University Medical Center and Georgetown University Hospital, seeks to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer through innovative basic and clinical research, patient care, community education and outreach, and the training of cancer specialists of the future. Georgetown Lombardi is one of only 40 comprehensive cancer centers in the nation, as designated by the National Cancer Institute, and the only one in the Washington, DC, area. For more information, go to http://lombardi.georgetown.edu.
About Georgetown University Medical Center
Georgetown University Medical Center is an internationally recognized academic medical center with a three-part mission of research, teaching and patient care (through MedStar Health). GUMC’s mission is carried out with a strong emphasis on public service and a dedication to the Catholic, Jesuit principle of cura personalis — or “care of the whole person.” The Medical Center includes the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing & Health Studies, both nationally ranked; Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, designated as a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute; and the Biomedical Graduate Research Organization (BGRO), which accounts for the majority of externally funded research at GUMC including a Clinical Translation and Science Award from the National Institutes of Health. In fiscal year 2010-11, GUMC accounted for 85 percent of the university’s sponsored research funding.