The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion Innovation is driving breakthroughs in health care

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Regarding the June 11 news article “Cancer drug trial success has researchers wondering what will come next”:

The outcome of a new colorectal cancer study in which 100 percent of patients who received treatment were cleared of the condition serves as the latest reminder of how innovation in health care is driving significant medical breakthroughs.

Medicines are helping patients live healthier lives by treating and curing diseases once thought to be a virtual death sentence. As of 2019, there were an estimated 16.9 million cancer survivors living in the United States, a number that is projected to grow to more than 22.1 million by 2030. Death rates from cancer fell 31 percent from 1991 to 2018, while overall U.S. life expectancy increased in 2018 in large part because of rapid advancements in cancer treatment. While still early in the clinical trial process, the colorectal cancer study gives us even greater hope that existing treatments in development can soon eradicate the disease, as well as fuel new treatments for other cancers.

It is because of an ecosystem that fosters medical advances that patients can have hope for a disease-free future. We must continue to foster a policy environment that values innovation, incentivizes further development of lifesaving treatments and drives scientific research and innovation, because patients can’t wait.

Debbie Hart, Trenton, N.J.

The writer is president and chief executive of BioNJ.