New era for cancer patients
As a cancer patient, I’m more optimistic than I’ve ever been about what researchers are learning about cancer and how to fight it.
And I’m impressed and pleased that patient access and education as well as a sense of community between the patients, doctors, and companies that are making these drugs appear to be a priority in this sector.
Kamala Maddali, vice president of biopharma collaborations and companion diagnostics at CGI, has spent much of her life working to improve the cancer patient experience.
Maddali, who recently became a strategic advisor at GTCbio, an international biopharma communications company, has initiated multiple programs that connect patients and their families with oncologists, pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies, and patient advocacy groups.
She’s brought these groups together via partnerships, community events, panel discussions, and roundtables.
“My vision is to ensure that the patient’s voice is heard, and my goal is to help patients and pharma partners implement the right test or tests for the right patient and innovate a right drug for improving global community health,” Maddali told Healthline.
The advent of immunotherapy, she suggests, represents an “evolutionary rebirth” for cancer therapy.
“Understanding patient tumor biology plays an important role in determining whether a patient is a suitable candidate for an immunotherapy,” she said.
For recently approved immunotherapies for non-small cell lung cancer, she explained, there’s a requirement to test for the presence of PD-L1, which is a ligand of PD-1, on the tumor in order to receive the drug.
“This represents a basic change in the way an oncologist treats and listens to a patient,” said Maddali, who encourages pharma partners to collaborate with clinical diagnostic labs to educate patients.
“A patient should be more knowledgeable about his or her disease and take the approach that, ‘I am not with the disease but the disease is with me,’” she said.