Half of us will hear the words “you have cancer” at some point in our lives.i
In our society, breast cancer is the second most common cancer to affect men and women, and the most common cancer in women overall.ii Approximately 2 million new breast cancer cases are diagnosed each year worldwide.ii Receiving a breast cancer diagnosis can be frightening, however, with the age of modern medicine, there are a range of treatment options available and survival rates of invasive breast cancers are up to 90% at 5-years.ii
Breast cancer treatment options can include surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormonal and (targeted) biological therapy.iii The introduction of biologic treatments marked a new keystone for breast cancer treatment. These treatments are used to prevent or slow tumor growth and to prevent the spread of cancer. Ultimately, the goal of biologic treatments for cancer is to induce the immune system to recognize and kill cancer cells.iv Because these treatments are targeted, they may cause patients fewer unpleasant side effects than other cancer treatments
(e.g. chemotherapy) which have a whole-body effect.iv
Healthcare systems around the world are under growing pressure to continue to provide optimal care for their patients. In the US, the financial burden of oncology treatments is estimated to rise to USD 240 billion by 2023.v
The demand for greater access to affordable, effective cancer treatments around the world is propelling the rapid development of biosimilars (medicines manufactured by, or extracted from a biological source), which are often priced at around 70% belowvi the original targeted biological therapy. It is hoped that increasing availability of biosimilars will not only improve patient outcomes, it may potentially stimulate price competition with big brands of these medicines. It is estimated that the wide adoption of biosimilars could save the US healthcare agencies up to USD 160 billion.vii
Here, at Samsung Bioepis, my colleagues and I are committed to addressing questions about biosimilars and striving to ensure access for all. Some of the ways we do this is by investing in real-world research and expanding our research into a broad range of disease areas, including cancers. In doing so, we hope to empower physicians and patients to have considered and well-informed conversations around the possibility of biosimilars as a treatment option for their cancer.