New institute to investigate costs of cancer treatments


  • Carrie Printz


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Reacting to the rising economic burden of cancer, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC) in Seattle, Washington, is forming a new institute that will explore the clinical and economic benefits of cancer treatment.[1]

The Institute for Cancer Outcomes Research and Evaluation (ICORE) will launch early next year and will focus on outcomes research in cancer; the costeffectiveness of prevention, early detection, and treatment clinical trials for cancer; comparative effectiveness; pragmatic clinical trial design and implementation; and health care policy in cancer and other chronic diseases.

Lawrence Corey, MD, president and director of FHCRC, notes that while the center's primary mission is to prevent and cure cancers, leaders also believe it is necessary to ensure that therapies are well-selected both clinically and economically.

Scott Ramsey, MD, PhD, director of ICORE, notes that not only are cancer costs rising at an unsustainable rate, but cancer care varies significantly nationwide based on patients' race, income, insurance, where they live, and what type of cancer they have. For that reason, ICORE leaders stress the importance of collecting and analyzing data as well as providing evidence that supports the provision of cost-effective cancer care.

He and colleagues anticipate that ICORE will be both translational and transformative by bringing new advances to the health care sector and creating new models that maintain quality care while reducing costs. They anticipate it will serve as a model for partnerships with stakeholders in the cancer research and care delivery fields to develop more effective and cost-efficient care.

According to an article by Cheryl Strelko, PhD, an oncology analyst for business intelligence firm GlobalData, ICORE research will give patients and physicians access to more detailed information about a drug's efficacy than is available from clinical trials.1 They also will be able to determine whether the drug's price reflects its potential benefits. The institute will include core clinical research and public health faculty from the FHCRC and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance as well as affiliate investigators from the University of Washington.