Accelerate Progress Remembers the 500,000 Americans Who Died of Cancer in 2008 and Launches its Plan for Faster Progress in Their Memory

Non-profit organization takes on challenge of accelerating progress against cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

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Leonard Riccio, Gastric Cancer

Accelerate Progress has brought together many thoughtful leaders across a variety of key disciplines, begun forming collaborations to increase efficiency, and is getting our message out about the need to begin doing something now, before the mountain to climb grows yet higher

Chicago, IL (PRWEB) January 6, 2009

Accelerate Progress, a national organization devoted to bringing about faster access to promising and potentially life-saving new therapies for patients fighting cancer and other life-threatening diseases, responds to crisis in cancer community by launching its Identify, Research, Create, and Implement 2018 plan, supported by the roll-out of its new website at http://www.AccelerateProgress.org .

"More than 500,000 Americans lost their lives to cancer in 2008, which should outrage us all," said Scott Riccio, Executive Director of Accelerate Progress. "Inefficiencies and outright failures in our approaches to developing and using new medical treatments contribute to the needless suffering and death of hundreds of thousands of patients each year, a fact we find unacceptable and intolerable for a humane society. The cancer community recognizes this crisis and needs action now. Our 2018 plan is an ambitious, but necessary program to improve the rate at which we deliver new safe and effective options to patients fighting cancer and other life-threatening diseases. The plan connects practical knowledge about how society applies advances in technology to the goal of improving outdated approaches to the development, evaluation, and integration of new safe and effective treatments."

In 2008, more than 500,000 Americans died from cancer and more than 1.4 million were newly diagnosed with cancer. Almost one out of two men and one out of every three women will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime. The National Institutes of Health estimated overall costs of cancer in 2007 at $219.2 billion (1). Reports from the GAO, FDA, and industry agree that inefficient systems contribute to development times for promising and potentially lifesaving new therapies that regularly exceed 12 years per drug. The costs of developing and delivering a new option for patients regularly exceed $1 billion. Both figures continue to steadily increase. A recent study demonstrated that a 1% reduction in U.S. deaths from cancer would be worth more than $500 billion in social value.

To address these issues, the 2018 plan lays out a broad strategy to modernize the systems for developing and delivering new treatments, identifying key areas for improvement that show the most promise to accelerate our progress against cancer and other such diseases. The goal of the plan is to improve the rate at which new and clinically important therapeutic discoveries are translated into advancements for the management or cure of life threatening diseases, and to assure patient access to these treatments.

"We have made substantial progress in our fundamental understanding of the biology of the many diseases we call 'cancer', since the signing of the National Cancer Act in 1971. But the cancer patient can benefit from the substantial public and private investment in research only if we have policies that fully address the challenges facing the development and regulatory approval of new therapies," stated Dr. Philip Schein, Chief Scientific Advisor for Accelerate Progress. "These must include systems that provide for the efficient translations of advances in laboratory research into a public benefit in a timely manner."

"Accelerate Progress has brought together many thoughtful leaders across a variety of key disciplines, begun forming collaborations to increase efficiency, and is getting our message out about the need to begin doing something now, before the mountain to climb grows yet higher," continued Mr. Riccio. "Many groups have focused on a particular symptom of the problem, but we believe that in order to bring about truly meaningful change, we must examine the complete systems for developing and delivering new treatments and effectively draw expertise from the many constituencies involved, without being beholden to any. This is an enormous task and an aggressive plan to accomplish meaningful progress by 2018, but there are far too many lives at stake to not be taking action now."

Background:
In 2008, more than 1.4 million people were newly diagnosed with cancer. Cancer is already the second leading cause of death in the United States and moving towards number one. Almost 1,500 people lose their fight against cancer every single day. Almost one out of two men and one out of every three women will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime. According to data presented by the American Association for Cancer Research ("AACR") (2), a 10% reduction in cancer deaths would be worth $4.7 trillion in social value- the value of reduced mortality and increased quality of life (3). A 1% reduction in cancer deaths would be worth $500 billion; about 2.5 times what the U.S. spends each year on the disease (4).

GAO (5), FDA (6), and industry reports (7) document that inefficient systems contribute to development times for promising and potentially lifesaving new therapies that regularly exceed 12years per drug and often require spending of more than $1 billion per drug developed. These development times and costs are continuing to increase year over year contributing to the ever increasing costs to patients and society of therapeutic options to fight disease.

About Accelerate Progress:
Accelerate Progress is a not-for-profit 'action tank' formed to fill a gap between industry, academia, regulators, patients, doctors, advocates, and others involved in the many systems dealing with discovery, development, review, and use of new therapies for patients fighting cancer and other life-threatening diseases. We are a science-based organization driven by a passion to do more for patients and by the recognition that to date we have not yet done nearly enough. Our Scientific Advisory Board is made up of respected leaders in their fields and includes four former presidents of the largest professional or scientific organizations focused on cancer research, two members who formerly chaired the Oncology Drug Advisory Committee ("ODAC") for FDA, several directors of some of the most respected Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the country, a former Deputy Commissioner of the FDA, and additional leaders in the fields of advanced biostatistics, clinical trial design, and related disciplines.

In the interest of remaining open to the voices of all constituencies and focusing on systems improvements that are responsive to patients' needs, Accelerate Progress does not accept funding from companies developing pharmaceuticals, biotechnology drugs, or similar medical devices that treat life-threatening diseases.

Contact:
Scott Riccio, Executive Director
(312) 420-3296
director (at) accelerateprogress (dot) org

Complete List of Scientific Advisory Board for Accelerate Progress.

1) American Cancer Society, Cancer Facts & Figures, 2008
2) American Association for Cancer Research, 2008 Cancer Facts and Figures
3) Murphy, Kevin M, and Robert H. Topel, "The Value of Health and Longevity." Journal of Political Economy 114 (2006): 871-904
4) Murphy, K.M. and Topel, R.H. Journal of Political Economy, 2006;114:871-904
5) GAO-07-49 New Drug Development: Science, Business, Regulatory, and Intellectual Property Issues Cited as Hampering Drug Development Efforts
6) FDA 2007 "Science and Technology Board Report" and FDA 2004 "Innovation or Stagnation" Document
7) Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America,
Pharmaceutical Industry Profile 2008 (Washington, DC: PhRMA, March 2008).

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