Barriers to Biomarker Testing

Barriers to Biomarker Testing seeks to understand patients’ knowledge about biomarker testing, clarify misconceptions, and implement systematic change in order to ensure access to precision diagnostics, which is essential to precision medicine.

LUNGevity firmly recognizes that involving healthcare professionals (HCPs) is a critical component of any patient-facing intervention, understanding that patient-facing solutions will solve only part of the problem; all patient-facing activities proposed in this project will be complemented by a comprehensive survey of HCPs (a mix of pulmonologists, oncologists, and nurses—key players on the multidisciplinary team) to get a full picture of the testing and treatment gap in underserved communities.

Results to Date

Language Audit: Evidence suggests that, in spite of the progress being made, only a subset of eligible patients is benefiting from targeted therapies. As a first step to overcome the complexity of the issue, LUNGevity sought to understand what terms are being used to convey information around molecular testing. An audit was conducted of the online communications of 28 companies and organizations, and patients were interviewed.

Messaging Audit: All stakeholders audited in the Language Audit agreed on the importance of a more unified voice and message to help the medical community and patients. The Messaging Audit includes an inventory of the components (WHAT, WHY, WHEN, WHERE, WHO, and HOW) of education materials used by patient advocacy groups, and pharmaceutical and biotech companies, to discuss the importance of biomarker testing with patients and healthcare providers.

Project DIRECT: The Foundation recently launched a new project aimed at understanding the biomarker experience of underserved lung cancer patients. Patients on Medicaid are 40% less likely to get tested than those with private health insurance. Also, Medicaid patients are 30% less likely than patients who are privately insured to receive targeted therapies following testing. 

Project DIRECT (Eliminating DIspaRitiEs in lung Cancer biomarker Testing) is a multi-year, multi-phase project aimed at understanding the testing and treatment gap, with the ultimate goal of developing patient-centric solutions to close this gap.