New Global Initiative Aims to Improve Patient Outcomes in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer

  • The multidisciplinary Oncology Partnership and Education Network (OPEN) aims to improve patient outcomes in oncology, with initial focus on metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) 
  • OPEN aims to raise public awareness and understanding of the importance of biomarker testing in mCRC 

DARMSTADT, Germany, March 31, 2014 /CNW/ - Merck Serono, the biopharmaceutical division of Merck, today announced the formation of the global Oncology Partnership and Education Network (OPEN). This global initiative, supported by Merck Serono, brings together a multidisciplinary group of stakeholders involved with the management of cancer to help improve patient care. Focusing on metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) as its first priority, OPEN aims to reinforce the important role biomarker testing has in personalizing care in mCRC. The launch of OPEN coincides with Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in many countries.

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Based on recent scientific developments in the area of biomarkers in mCRC, OPEN's first priority will be to establish a global campaign to improve awareness and understanding with the general public, patients and healthcare professionals. OPEN, chaired by Professor Ciardiello, is supported by an international steering committee of experts in the field of oncology, including healthcare professionals, patient advocacy groups and policy representatives.

"Biomarkers enable oncologists to create personalized, clinically proven treatment plans for patients right from the start in mCRC, thereby optimizing patients' chances of extended overall survival," said Professor Fortunato Ciardiello, Seconda Università di Napoli, Naples, Italy and Chair of the OPEN Steering Committee. "OPEN aims to increase public awareness of the fact that getting a biomarker test done, ideally at the time of initial diagnosis, is vital for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer to ensure they receive the most appropriate 1st-line treatment," he concluded.

Currently, 25% of patients with colorectal cancer already have an advanced stage of the disease at diagnosis, which makes it challenging to treat successfully.[1],[2] Recent developments in the field of biomarkers now allow physicians to identify those patients who are most likely to benefit from specific treatment options, based on the genetic profile of their tumor.

"Biomarkers are reliable clinical indicators that support physicians in their treatment decisions for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer," said Dr Steven Hildemann, Global Chief Medical Officer and Head of Global Medical and Safety for Merck Serono. "Merck Serono is proud to be able to support OPEN in its mission to raise awareness globally of the important role biomarkers play in improving clinical outcomes for people living with mCRC."

An increased understanding of treatment options and greater involvement in decision making about their own care, together with equality of access to treatments that improve outcomes, are also core principles of the recently launched European Cancer Patient's Bill of Rights.

About Colorectal Cancer  

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second most common cancer worldwide, with an estimated incidence of more than 1.36 million new cases annually.[3] Approximately 694,000 deaths from CRC occur every year, accounting for 8.5% of all cancer deaths and making it the fourth most common cause of death from cancer.[3] Almost 55% of CRC cases are diagnosed in developed regions of the world, and incidence and mortality rates are substantially higher in men than in women.[3]

Note to Editors: 

Please click here to view the multimedia release which includes mCRC biomarker videos and additional information.

Additional information resources for media on mCRC are available online from: http://www.globalcancernews.com

References 


  1. Sanoff HK, et al. J Clin Oncol 2008;26(35):5721-7.
  2. Van Cutsem E, et al. Ann Oncol 2010;21(Suppl 5):v93-7.
  3. Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Ervik M, Dikshit R, Eser S, Mathers C, Rebelo M, Parkin DM, Forman D, Bray, F. GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.0, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2013. Available at: http://globocan.iarc.fr. Last accessed March 2014.

About Merck Serono 

Merck Serono is the biopharmaceutical division of Merck. With headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany, Merck Serono offers leading brands in 150 countries to help patients with cancer, multiple sclerosis, infertility, endocrine and metabolic disorders as well as cardiovascular diseases. In the United States and Canada, EMD Serono operates as a separately incorporated subsidiary of Merck Serono.

Merck Serono discovers, develops, manufactures and markets prescription medicines of both chemical and biological origin in specialist indications. We have an enduring commitment to deliver novel therapies in our core focus areas of neurology, oncology, immuno-oncology and immunology.

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Merck is a leading company for innovative and top-quality high-tech products in the pharmaceutical and chemical sectors. With its four divisions Merck Serono, Consumer Health, Performance Materials and Merck Millipore, Merck generated total revenues of € 11.1 billion in 2013. Around 38,000 Merck employees work in 66 countries to improve the quality of life for patients, to further the success of our customers and to help meet global challenges.

Merck is the world's oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company - since 1668, the company has stood for innovation, business success and responsible entrepreneurship. Holding an approximately 70% interest, the founding family remains the majority owner of the company to this day.

Merck, Darmstadt, Germany is holding the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are Canada and the United States, where the company is known as EMD.

Video:
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SOURCE Merck Serono

For further information: Merck KGaA, Frankfurter Strasse 250, 64293 Darmstadt, Germany, Hotline +49(0)6151-72-5000, http://www.merckgroup.com; Merck Serono is a division of Merck, http://www.merckserono.com, Raphaela Farrenkopf, Phone +49-6151-72-2274