Use of precision oncology medicines instead of traditional oncology medicines may help reduce the economic burden of cancer care. A study by Queen's University Belfast has revealed that development of precision oncology medicines costs much less than traditional oncology medicines, and hence it can deliver affordable care for cancer patients.
The conclusion is based on a comprehensive study of the initial wave of precision oncology medicines, in which Belfast researchers compared the economic impact of precision oncology medicines and traditional oncology medicines.
According to the study results, research and development (R&D) cost for developing a precision oncology medicine (that is guided through clinical trials) is over $1 billion less than that of a "one size fits all" approach to cancer treatment.
Precision oncology focuses on developing medical treatments that target the molecular characteristics of a patient's tumour, and identifying patients who are most likely to benefit from a particular medicine.
Senior author Professor Mark Lawler, Professor of Digital Health at Queen's University Belfast, stated that shifting to a precision oncology Companion Diagnostic (CDx)-guided approach can deliver deliver affordable care for cancer patients. It will reduce the development cost and clinical trial attrition rates as well as spare patients from those treatments that are ineffective but may cause serious side effects.
By not deploying a CDx guided approach, we are missing a huge opportunity to deliver the best, most affordable care to our patients, he added.
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The researchers strongly believe that using the "CDx guided approach" would increase the likelihood of cancer treatment being successful as well as cut treatment costs.
The findings of the Queen University Belfast study have been published in the journal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice.
For the study, Queen University Belfast collaborated with a team of precision healthcare economists and researchers from Salutem Insights Ltd, Diaceutics PLC and King's College London. It is claimed to be the world's first and most comprehensive study of the initial wave of precision oncology medicines in the marketplace.