The Value of Cancer Treatment Today

In recent decades, the biopharmaceutical industry has made tremendous progress in the fight against the more than 200 diseases we call cancer. Continued research has expanded our knowledge of how the disease develops and how to target medicines for specific cancer types – resulting in more effective therapies for patients. Biopharmaceutical companies are developing 1,300 medicines and vaccines for cancer, all of which are in clinical trials or awaiting review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Thanks to innovation from America’s biopharmaceutical research companies, the cancer death rate has fallen 29% from its peak in 1991, in large part due to innovations from targeted therapies along with immunotherapy.

A chart displaying the medicines in development for cancer in 2020 by disease type

Setbacks and Stepping Stones

Over the past 20 years, the FDA has approved 115 medicines across the cancers, but there have been a total of 1,366 unsuccessful investigational drugs. So-called “failures” are an inherent part of the process because treating human disease is one of the most complex undertakings on the planet. But these projects are not wasted efforts as their findings inform future study and direct research efforts toward new approaches to addressing the cancer causes, growth and progression.

Cancer continues to be a major challenge, but biopharmaceutical companies have over 1,300 potential cancer medicines in development and are dedicated to transforming cancer from a devastating diagnosis to a chronic, manageable condition. This goal drives researchers past the setbacks to discover how to apply the knowledge gained to inform the development of innovative medicines that bring hope to patients and their families and ultimately win the battle against cancer.

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Biopharmaceutical innovation and new drug discovery delivers far-reaching benefits to patients, the U.S. health care system and our state and national economies. New cancer medicines discovered and developed by America’s biopharmaceutical research companies are helping patients lead longer, more productive lives, controlling healthcare costs and stimulating the economy through high-quality jobs and a healthier workforce.