Making Medicine Personal in Cancer Treatments

In the last post within our Making Medicine Personal series, we explored how we’re doing this for patients with cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Today, we’re continuing the conversation by focusing on patients living with cancer.

Cancer is one of mankind’s greatest scientific and health challenges. Today, nearly 14.5 million Americans[1] have cancer and the total annual cost of their treatment is estimated at $125 billion[2]. With astonishing numbers like these, it’s more important than ever before that patients receive the best care possible while effectively managing overall costs to the healthcare system.

At AstraZeneca, we recognize the importance of delivering both innovation and value, and the advantage of using individualized, tailored care to ensure the right treatments for the right patients. That’s why we’re constantly working to eliminate cancer through creative approaches to both treatments and payments, valuable patient assistance programs, and strategic collaborations.

Standard cancer treatments are being redefined through groundbreaking, targeted therapies and the benefits are notable. Approaches such as combination therapy allow us to leverage biological synergies between different molecules to maximize patient benefits; the added value is streamlined pricing and access for complex treatments. We focus on four primary areas, which include combination and individual therapies: Immuno-Oncology, tumor drivers and resistance mechanisms, DNA damage repair, and antibody drug conjugates. Additionally, personalized medicine is a key factor in improving cancer treatments by identifying patient populations that could benefit the most from our therapies while also generating savings – through the identification of specific biomarkers in individual patients, we’re helping to ensure that they receive the most appropriate medicines for their specific cancer diagnoses.

While our researchers and developers are helping physicians identify the most effective treatments possible for their patients, our support programs are helping patients even more directly. By example, Access 360™  increases access to care by decreasing a patient’s financial burden through discounts and reimbursements once an AstraZeneca medicine has been prescribed. In addition to financial support, we’re also providing psychosocial support through online communities such as LVNG With, MyMBCStory, and – which provide hope, encouragement and education to patients facing similar challenges.

Beyond our active support for patients and caregivers, we feel a critical need to continue following the science to advance the treatment of cancers. We do this in large part by tapping into the expertise of leading organizations to pioneer answers to the most critical questions in the fight against cancer. Our relentless investment in strategic R&D partnerships addresses different facets of care, including clinical discovery with the MD Anderson Cancer Center, drug development with Inovio Pharmaceuticals, and diagnostics with Myriad Genetics.

Fundamentally, we’re making steady progress in our goal of eliminating cancer as a cause of death, and remain committed to helping society confront this massive challenge to add more value to people’s lives and the healthcare system.  The outlooks for many cancer patients are improving with each new discovery.   Stay tuned.

View More Within this Series:


[1] Cancer Facts & Figures 2016. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society; 2016:1. Available at: Accessed May 23, 2016.

[2] Cancer Statistics. National Cancer Institute. 2015. Available at: Accessed September 2, 2015.