Advancing Precision Medicine in Oncology

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Jerome Madison, Host of The Precision Medicine Podcast, joined the latest episode of Impetus Digital‘s Fireside Chat to share his leadership lessons and tips for building and training new sales teams in the era of precision medicine. We also dived into the promises and pitfalls of genomic testing and precision medicine in oncology, how to build authentic relationships with oncology KOLs during and after COVID-19, and so much more!

Here is a sneak peek of our conversation:

Q: I wonder if you can paint the picture of what the world looked like before the original biomarkers or original single mutation tests and what precision medicine has evolved into in today’s current state and understanding?

A: Wow that’s a loaded question! I’ll approach it like this: the question is, what is precision medicine? There’s a lot of people who define it in different ways. If you speak to clinicians, they would suggest that all healthcare is precision, because there are unique patient characteristics from one patient to the next that must be considered in order to get and recommend the right therapies for that patient. In that case, it can be precise to that patient.

Precision medicine as we see it, is the ability to implement technological tools, technology, software, solutions, in order to integrate them into the clinical workflow that would eliminate barriers and friction, like financial uncertainty of coverage of these different tests and therapies, like the unwanted variability and testing in the clinic from one physician to the next, of their level of understanding. Back then, when I was just speaking, in 2004, we were the only game in the United States literally. But after that, there were a couple of labs that came forward with assays. But it was only around 2012, when next-gen sequencing had been commercialized, that you see this real growth of labs in the country that were offering different testing panels or lab products that you could scan or sequence genomes and identify patients who are likely to respond to certain diseases.

Now, we’re talking about use cases in multiple tumor types and multiple biomarkers. Some of these biomarkers will only target, a great example is RET fusions or RET mutations. It only affects 3% of medullary thyroid cancer patients, but it has a 63% response rate. That’s about 1000 patients a year that have the ability to benefit from that. In every tumor type, there is a biomarker that can segment a certain percentage of the population who can benefit. The information is growing so rapidly, the data is growing so rapidly, drugs and different biomarkers are coming to the market so rapidly that, most clinicians, if you’re not a specialist in a certain tumor type, find it hard to keep up with the data.

It’s hard to understand who to order for, at what point in their treatment journey, what biomarkers to consider, what lab can actually do the test that needs to be done, what lab product has the biomarkers, and, when you get the report back, how do you interpret that information? They’re all 38 pages long, the information is on different pages of the report and, ultimately, you have to get in line and enter another portal for your payer to know if they’re likely to pay for it. That creates a lot of friction. It creates a lot of unreadiness and hesitancy on the part of the clinician, to the point where they don’t do the testing. They don’t even start the first step to see if a patient could actually get access to therapy, because it’s a lot of time taken out of the physician’s schedule to have to get on and fight with the payer to even get access.

Precision medicine really is involving tools, and that’s what Trapelo is. It’s really a user-friendly interface that helps a healthcare system, a cancer center, practice precision medicine, that fits their workflow and makes it more efficient to make these treatment decisions and orders. Also, which we didn’t mention, the B use cases for payers. They need a utilization management tool that provides them the type of insight into the data to help them understand what should be paid for every single time and really skip the process of “Mother, may I?” if you will, or going to appeal a denied claim when there’s a clear indication for therapy for a patient. That’s how we define it here at Trapelo Health and through the podcast, we talk to a number of experts, thought leaders, scientists, patient advocates, about how we can together solve the problem and deliver on the promise of precision medicine…

For more of our discussion, you can watch the whole Fireside Chat with James Madison, or listen to the podcast version, below.

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About Impetus Digital

Impetus Digital is the spark behind sustained healthcare stakeholder communication, collaboration, education, and insight synthesis. Our best-in-class technology and professional services ensure that life science organizations around the world can easily and cost-effectively grow and prosper—from brand or idea discovery to development, commercialization, execution, and beyond—in collaboration with colleagues, customers, healthcare providers, payers, and patients.

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