Lori Gardner, Senior Director
Membership and Public Relations
301.984.9496 ext. 226
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Apr 29, 2020
Rockville, MD – As the science and knowledge around biomarkers and molecular profiling continues to expand, oncology providers are challenged with efficiently implementing molecular testing into their everyday practice. To raise awareness about biomarker testing, increase access to patient and provider education materials, and establish a strong network of advocacy and professional partners to help facilitate the integration of precision medicine into practice, the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) has launched the BiomarkerLIVE education program.
Findings from ACCC’s Highlights from the 2018 Trending Now in Cancer Care Survey indicated that operational issues such as insurance coverage, reimbursement, and insufficient protocols were common barriers to biomarker testing. Guided by an expert Advisory Committee and partner, Cancer Support Community, ACCC leveraged these findings to deliver Phase 1 of the BiomarkerLIVE program: development of a lexicon of comprehensive terminology to empower the care team; establishment of a resource bank of nationally available materials relevant to cancer biomarkers and biomarker testing—filterable by cancer type, area of application, and/or primary audience; and release of a how-to webinar that further explores how cancer programs can use these tools to implement effective biomarker testing protocols for patients.
“Cancer care is in the midst of a massive paradigm shift. We’re in a rapidly expanding landscape of how cancers are diagnosed, treated, and even prevented,” said Patricia Friend, PhD, APRN-CNS, AOCNS, AGN-BC, Associate Professor and Program Director, Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, Loyola University Chicago. “I am so pleased to be part of this important educational endeavor led by ACCC.” Dr. Friend serves on the advisory committee for ACCC’s BiomarkerLIVE program.
Cancer biomarkers comprise specific proteins, receptors, hormones, and enzymes, many of which may exist in a healthy body irrespective of malignancies. Therefore, it is often changes observed in these biomarkers that serve as important reference points in cancer care. In addition, many cancer biomarkers derive from genetic mutations, including sporadic (somatic) and/or hereditary (germline) mutations.
These nuances have led to a rapidly growing field of innovations, tests, and therapies that aim to leverage biomarkers in improving cancer care delivery and outcomes.
“I think we tend to overestimate the level of knowledge we have, not having ‘grown up’ in this space,” said Dr. Friend. As application of precision oncology matures, the knowledge and expertise of multiple disciplines and subspecialties is required. For effective communication, a common vocabulary for all stakeholders is imperative. “I think we need to start with the basics, building the foundation with the use of a common language—the BiomarkerLIVE lexicon has been created for this reason. That's how we are going to thrive in the era of precision oncology,” Dr. Friend said.
Building on the program’s achievements to date, ACCC is continuing with Phase 2 of the groundbreaking BiomarkerLIVE program, launching multiple integrated initiatives dedicated to preparing the multidisciplinary cancer care team for the complex realities associated with biomarkers and the implementation of increasingly complex care and treatments in the community setting.
ACCC’s BiomarkerLIVE will be transformational to oncology care in the community and is poised to expand critical biomarker education and adoption of effective practices, ultimately addressing the real-world implications of implementation and supporting deployment of and access to precision medicine in oncology across the United States. Visit our website to learn more.
BiomarkerLive Phase 1 was supported by Bristol-Myers Squibb. BiomarkerLive Phase 2 is supported by AbbVie, Eli Lilly and Company, and Merck & Co., Inc.
1 National Cancer Institute. NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms. 2019. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms Accessed August 2019.
2 LUNGevity. What You Need to Know about Biomarker Testing. Chicago: LUNGevity Foundation; 2017.