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From the Editors

TOP - August 2019, Vol 12, No 3
Patrick J. Medina, PharmD, BCOP
Medical Science Liaison
Medical Affairs, GlaxoSmithKline
Collegeville, PA
Adjunct Professor of Pharmacy
University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy
Steven Stricker, PharmD, MS, BCOP
Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice
McWhorter School of Pharmacy
Samford University
Birmingham, AL
The August issue of The Oncology Pharmacist (TOP) features a presentation from the 2019 Hematology/­Oncology Pharmacy Association Annual Conference that explores the timely topic of precision medicine and its potential role in guiding treatment decisions that can improve the lives of patients with cancer.

“We know genetic alterations in molecular pathways make tumors grow. We have the technology to profile it, and we have drugs—on-label, off-label, and in clinical trials—that we can utilize to target these profiles,” said Christine M. Walko, PharmD, BCOP, Personalized Medicine Pharmacologist, Personalized Medicine Clinical Service, and Chair, Clinical Genomic Action Committee, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL.

We also feature extensive coverage from the 2019 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, where experts presented the latest advances in the fight against cancer.

In a press conference at the meeting, Richard Pazdur, MD, Director, FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence, and Ellen V. Sigal, PhD, Board Chair, Reagan-Udall Foundation, Washington, DC, discussed an oncology-specific pilot program aimed at helping physicians and patients gain access to investigational therapies.

“For the first time, those who need quick access to drug availability and expanded access options will find it in one place without having to visit site by site or sift through thousands of studies that don’t [serve] their needs,” Dr Sigal explained.

Chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy was a hot topic at ASCO, and this issue of TOP features highlights from a presentation by Gianpietro Dotti, MD, Professor, Immunology, University of North Carolina Lineberger Cancer Center, Chapel Hill, in which he discussed ongoing efforts to optimize this therapy to reach more patients.

“The challenge for the next 5 to 10 years is to improve existing CAR T-cell therapy and to transfer it to solid tumors,” he explained.

In a presentation on health policy, Lara M. Strawbridge, MPH, Director, Division of Ambulatory Payment Models, Patient Care Models Group, Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation, shared recent data from the Oncology Care Model, including early signs of benefit for practices and the ongoing challenge of keeping pace with the changing landscape of cancer care.

“With the advent of so many novel therapies in the immune-oncology space, medical oncology in particular has changed dramatically in the last few years. Making sure that we set payments at the right level and instill faith among our participants that they will be rewarded in cases where they’ve actually made a change is something that we continue to work on,” Ms Strawbridge said.

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