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Lead Author Explains ASCO's Statement on Biosimilars in Oncology

Angelica Welch
Published: Thursday, Apr 26, 2018

Gary H. Lyman, MD, FASCO

Gary H. Lyman, MD, FASCO
ASCO recently released a statement outlining the organization’s commitment to education and guidance regarding the use of biosimilars in the treatment of patients with cancer, which was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

, Lyman, who is the co-director of the Hutchinson Institute for Cancer Outcomes Research at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and a member of the ASCO board of directors, discussed these areas of focus in detail, highlighting the clinical implications of biosimilars for oncologists to recognize.

OncLive: Why did ASCO decide to release this statement?

Lyman: Biosimilars is a pretty hot topic right now. We are certainly in the biologic revolution in oncology with the introduction of various effective, but often costly, biologic therapies for many forms of cancer. These include monoclonal antibodies and small molecules like tyrosine kinase inhibitors. These are products produced in living systems, so they are not chemically synthesized in the laboratory the same way that conventional drugs have been. While these have produced startling advancements in the treatment of many cancers, they have come at a heavy price tag because they are very costly to develop, get regulatory approval for, and so forth. There is a lot of concern in general about the rising cost of healthcare, particularly drug prices for cancer treatment, and the major drivers of these rising costs are these biologic therapies. 
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