Pharma Strategy Blog

Commentary on Pharma & Biotech Oncology / Hematology New Product Development

OncoChat, from the folks at Icarus Consultants click here, is intended as a blog about the latest happenings in the world of oncology and cancer treatments.

Cancer is a fascinating subject from a scientific perspective, but it is also one of the scariest things that can happen in any person’s life. We are all affected by it in some way, at some point in our lives, whether as a patient, survivor, caregiver, family, friend or some other related way. The folks in the pharma industry who develop new cancer drugs are some of the most dedicated and able people we have ever met; they truly care about patients lives. As new treatments find their way to market for a variety of different cancers, so the survival times gradually improve and new hope springs eternal.

Some of the most exciting developments over the last few years have arisen from targeted therapies, either on their own, or in combination with standard chemotherapy regimens. Patients are now living longer as a result of drugs such as Herceptin, Gleevec and Avastin, for breast cancer, chronic myeloid leukemia and colorectal cancer respectively. Not only are people living longer, but their quality of life is also often better – this is the real test of progress; can a person previously suffering from cancer go back to living a normal life?

In some cases, the answer is clearly yes and in others, they were able to be more independent and less of a burden on their families while suffering from the disease. This is also crucial and one that is often sadly forgotten about. Dignity is just as important as survival curves.

These pages are dedicated to patients with cancer, their caregivers, and the health care professionals such as doctors, nurses, scientists and pharma people who work so hard to make a difference in cancer patients lives.

We plan on writing about cancer and new developments – we hope that you will share that journey with us and welcome any comments and posts; sometimes just talking is catharsis in itself :-).

Sally

2 Responses to “Welcome to the OncoChat Blog”

  1. David Horton

    As a UK resident and having travelled the world, the NHS is definitely not as good as it’s reputation suggests. It is also fair to say that Oncology is the most emotive area of medicine, not least since people will die of cancer with or without drug intervention.
    However, there is a fine line between using an unproven medicine for desperate people and potentially making their short life even shorter. In the case of Herceptin, it has yet to be licensed for early stage disease in the UK which means the experts haven’t made a decision. Sometimes there is good reason for caution as other drug withdrawals will testify!! Public opinion and lawyers are not the right arbiters of clinical decisions. Having said that, neither are politicians…but I suspect they often interfere when public opinion and the media make a fuss. The biggest issue here is one of fairness…zip code lottery is patently not the way to run a health service….but we can blame the administrators and cowardly politicians for the current mess.

  2. DrJ

    It’s true that Herceptin hasn’t been licensed for earlier use but it’s also true that the data presented at major congresses last year from 4 different large scale trials was incredible, as Sal rightly pointed out. It is a little different treating the earlier form of the same cancer from completely unapproved use (ie different cancer or disease). Unfortunately, the NHS doesn’t sanction controlled off-label use based on phase III trials in a uniform, consistent way, as other countries do. It’s all about control and money.
    Roche should not be sitting on their laurels either and perhaps this whole sad mess might stimulate them to get going on filing the adjuvant indication sooner rather than later!

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