Lori Gardner, Senior Director
Membership and Public Relations
301.984.9496 ext. 226
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Jun 29, 2020
Rockville, MD— The Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) Immuno-Oncology Institute has released an assessment of the current state of Immuno-Oncology, highlighting for cancer care professionals current research, utilization trends, and coming advances for immunotherapies (IO). The cancer community marks June as Cancer Immunotherapy Month.
The report, titled, “Immuno-Oncology in 2020: What We’ve Learned and What Lies Ahead,” is available on the ACCC website.
It’s been nearly a decade since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s first approval of an immune checkpoint inhibitor drug for treatment of unresectable or metastatic melanoma. Today, immunotherapies have been approved to treat more than 20 types of cancer, as well as cancers with specific genetic mutations, and there are at least 527 active Phase 2 clinical trials investigating cell therapies, cancer vaccines and oncolytic virus immunotherapy.
“I think the huge learning curve that IO presented has significantly flattened out just by virtue of the explosive availability of IO therapies in the community, and the sheer necessity for physicians to learn to work with this particular class of drug. In many cases, it has become the standard of care, and if you want to practice oncology today, you have to understand it,” said Sigrun Hallmeyer, MD, Chair of the ACCC IO Institute Executive Committee.
“Immuno-Oncology in 2020: What We’ve Learned and What Lies Ahead” anticipates further expansion of immunotherapy to treat more patients, due to factors including the emergence of checkpoint inhibitors as feasible therapies in many adjuvant and neo-adjuvant settings, the increase in utilization of IO therapies as part of combination regimens or in sequence with chemotherapy or targeted agents, and the increase of IO delivery in community cancer settings. The report also details a growing need to more fully address survivorship needs and care planning for patients treated with immunotherapy, including unpredictable and delayed immune-related adverse events, follow-up, psychosocial support, and ongoing financial strain.
“IO and survivorship have become practically synonymous, as IO is delivering on the promise of helping cancer patients live longer. This means our focus must include delivering resources to the whole care team delivering survivorship care,” adds Dr. Hallmeyer. “It’s a welcome set of new challenges.”
In 2020, the Institute will continue its focus on the real-world challenges to immunotherapy delivery through a multidisciplinary survey and will use the results to inform the creation of new tools and resources for cancer programs. All cancer care professionals are encouraged to participate in the brief survey, available here.
The ACCC Immuno-Oncology Institute was established in 2015 to provide the multidisciplinary cancer care team with a comprehensive resource hub, providing practical peer-driven resources, insights from leading experts in the use of IO therapies, solutions to access and reimbursement barriers, and the latest updates on immuno-oncology advances.
The Institute provides numerous resources online for the cancer team professional, including on-demand audio learning. Several CANCER BUZZ podcast episodes featuring immunotherapy trends are available on the ACCC website and popular podcast apps, including the latest episode, “IO Clinical Trials During COVID-19.”