Quality of life: the full picture of patient health

By Prof. Dr. med. Steven Hildemann, Chief Medical Officer


Curiosity drives me to stay abreast of the latest data, learning from colleagues and the wider medical community of new advances in the field. Clinical data quantify the efficacy and safety associated with innovative therapies. However, too often they do not prioritize the full picture of the effects of that treatment on the individual at the heart of research – the patient. As a practicing lecturer, physician and Ipsen’s Chief Medical Officer, I have seen that quality of life is an increasingly critical outcome.


How do patients perceive the benefits of treatments? How well can they manage their symptoms; both physical and psychosocial? The answers to such questions are of critical importance to physicians, the industry, carers and the patients themselves.


Within the field of oncology, extension of life is a clear aim in difficult-to-treat cancers, with overall survival and progression free survival remaining crucial outcomes in clinical trials. However, with increasing efficacy of new innovative treatments, what we are now seeing is a shift in the treatment paradigm. Patients living with solid tumours are now expected to live longer. The additional priority measure to now consider is how we are safeguarding the quality of that extended survival. This is where capturing quality of life data from multiple sources and distilling its value to both patients and physicians is vital.


At Ipsen, we are pushing the boundaries to bring the full potential of our medicines to patients. We are committed to delivering for patients through our data-driven patient-centric mindset and champion the use of validated quality of life measurements. Methods such as patient reported outcomes questionnaires and additional real-world sources of data such as mobile apps, forums and wearable devices all contribute to providing a clearer picture of patient care.


As the holistic approach to managing patients becomes common practice, striking the right balance between delivering efficacy benefits and improved quality of life will be key to best-in-class disease management in oncology and beyond. It may now be time that we consider efficacy, safety and quality of life in the same context in our treatment decisions.

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