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February 2017PDF

 

Prostate Cancer

Regimen Extends Life for Some Men With Recurrent Prostate Cancer

Adding hormonal therapy to radiation treatment can significantly improve the average long-term survival of men with prostate cancer who have had their prostate gland removed, according to a new Cedars-Sinai study published in the Feb. 2 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

 

Gastric Cancer

Opdivo Demonstrated Improved Survival in Advanced Gastric Cancer in Phase III Study

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company announced the results of ONO-4538-12 demonstrating Opdivo (nivolumab) significantly reduced the risk of death by 37% (HR 0.63; p<0.0001) in patients with previously treated advanced gastric cancer refractory to or intolerant of standard therapy, a condition without current standard-of-care treatments.

 

Drugs & Targets

FDA Approves Opdivo for Urothelial Carcinoma Indication

FDA approved the nivolumab (Opdivo) injection for intravenous use for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma who have disease progression during or following platinum-containing chemotherapy, or have disease progression within 12 months of neoadjuvant or adjuvant treatment with platinum-containing chemotherapy.

 

Urothelial Cancer

Durvalumab Shows Activity in Patients who Progressed on Platinum-Based Chemo

AstraZeneca and its global biologics research and development arm, MedImmune, announced updated efficacy and safety data for durvalumab in patients with locally-advanced or metastatic urothelial cancer.

 

Renal Cell Carcinoma

NKTR-214 Shows Activity in Phase I RCC Study

 

Hematologic Malignancies

Gene-Guided Targeted Therapy Used to Treat Hematologic Syndromes

 

Breast Cancer

Blood Test That Detects Changes in Tumor DNA Predicts Survival in Advanced Disease

 

Ovarian Cancer

TapImmune Announces Progress in Phase II Trial

 

Brain Tumors

Genome Analysis Helps Keep GBM at Bay for Five Years

 

Skin Cancer

Immune Responses in Virus-Related Skin Cancer Suggest Immunotherapy Strategy

 

Lung Cancer

Vanderbilt Team’s Discovery Offers New Insight on Lung Cancer Risk

 

Thyroid Cancer

Pitt Study Finds Potential Marker of Drug Response in Many Cancer Types

 

NCI CTEP-Approved Trials for February

 

Pharmacology

Newfound Effect of Cancer Drug May Expand its Use

 

Health Disparities

Study: Minority Women Receive Poorer Care for Cervical Cancer

CCL Feb 2017 - Feb. 28, 2017
Issue 8 - Feb. 24, 2017
Issue 7 - Feb. 17, 2017
  • Audit: Lynda Chin’s abandoned $62 million IBM Watson collaboration didn’t follow standard procedures

    An audit of an abandoned mega-project run by IBM Watson and MD Anderson Cancer Center found that the Houston-based institution skirted the UT System’s procurement regulations as it spent $62.1 million on an ill-fated artificial intelligence system.

  • Is it research or run-of-the-mill IT?

    The UT System report on the Oncology Expert Advisor Project raises questions about classification of development of artificial intelligence systems.

    Are they research or are they IT systems?

  • Guest Editorial

    The AACI Network Care Initiative

    Many cancer center hospital systems are expanding their services across large geographic regions, while cancer care is consolidating around ever enlarging groups.

    Over the next two years, as I serve as president of the Association of American Cancer Institutes, I will be leading an initiative to better define these networks and to develop methods of improving the quality of cancer care administered across individual cancer center networks, with better integration of treatment services, especially those now unique to our centers, into the community.

  • In Brief

    • Salk scientist awarded $500K Swedish prize
    • Prostate Cancer Foundation awards $8.6 million to eight teams
    • U.S. Preventive Services Task Force appoints three new members
    • BTG and Society of Interventional Oncology to explore role of minimally invasive therapies in immuno-oncology
    • Perthera, Hope for Stomach Cancer to provide patient services
    • RPRD Diagnostics, Children’s Minnesota to advance clinical pharmacogenomics
    • Jeffery Kutok named chief scientific officer at Infinity
    • CVS Health earns CEO Cancer Gold Standard accreditation
  • Drugs and Targets

    • Amgen submits Supplemental Biologics License Application for Blincyto
    • Pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance, BMS reach agreement on Opdivo
    • Immunomedics enters into licensing agreement with Seattle Genetics for Sacituzumab Govitecan
  • Funding Opportunities

    PCRP announces research awards application guidelines

    The Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Research Program is pre-announcing the application process for its funding awards even though due to the current Continuing Resolution, the Fiscal Year 2017 Defense Appropriations bill has not been passed to allow investigators time to plan and develop ideas for submission to the anticipated FY17 funding opportunities.

Issue 6 - Feb. 10, 2017
  • MMRF contributes largest disease-specific cancer genome dataset to NCI’s Genomic Data Commons

    It took the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation nearly a decade and over $40 million to create what the foundation describes as the largest disease-specific cancer genome dataset in existence.

    The first installment of the dataset is now posted on NCI’s Genomic Data Commons, which places the information in the public domain, making it available to researchers.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    Giusti: The $40 million multiple myeloma dataset will help predict risk and clinical response

    The world’s biggest genomic database on multiple myeloma is being integrated into NCI’s Genomic Data Commons.

    The data on the second most common blood cancer—with genomic information from about 1,400 patients—was compiled by the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation through a genome mapping initiative and a $40 million network of clinical trials.

  • Steve Hahn takes over day to day operations at MD Anderson

    Steve Hahn, a radiation oncologist, was named deputy to the president and chief operating officer at MD Anderson Cancer Center.

  • GAO report: FDA underestimated actual cancer risk, clearing 25 versions of morcellators in over 20 years

    The Government Accountability Office Feb. 8 released an analysis of FDA’s failure to detect the health hazards of power morcellation, a once widely used procedure that has been shown to upstage uterine cancers.

  • In Brief

    • International teams win £100 million in Cancer Research UK competition 
    • Horning receives Duane Roth Memorial Award
    • Chang and Moore win Ehrlich-Darmstaedter Prize
    • ESMO to present new award at first annual Immuno-Oncology Congress
    • Jupiter Medical Center to use IBM Watson for Oncology technology
    • Fox Chase, Temple earn accreditation for BMT program
    • Cota, Hackensack integrate patient data into Epic EHR system
    • NCCN creates Quick Guide for patients with Waldenström’s Macroglobulinemia
  • Drugs & Targets

    • FDA approves Opdivo for urothelial carcinoma indication
    • GenomeDx, Astellas work to identify genomic drivers of Xtandi response
Issue 5 - Feb. 3, 2017
  • Soon-Shiong drops “MoonShot” trademark, but MD Anderson suit remains unresolved

    Overnight, cancer pharmaceuticals billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong stopped using the trademark “MoonShot” to describe his health initiatives, opting instead to use the less grabby, but equally ambitious, name “cancer breakthroughs.”

  • Soon-Shiong’s journey from “Rocket Ship” to “MoonShot”—with lots of confusion

    The MD Anderson complaint against Patrick Soon-Shiong and his business entities, filed Nov. 30, 2016, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, argues that the controversial billionaire’s use of the moonshot trademark created confusion that affected both MD Anderson and the White House initiative headed by then Vice President Joe Biden.

  • Cancer groups: Trump travel ban could “retard scientific progress and adversely affect public health”

    President Donald Trump’s recent executive order that temporarily bars travel from seven Muslim-majority countries to the United States will negatively affect research institutions, public health, and innovation, cancer organizations say.

  • Obituary

    LeMaistre, a pioneer of cancer prevention and former MD Anderson president, dies at 92

     

    Charles Aubrey “Mickey” LeMaistre, a former president of MD Anderson Cancer and a pioneer of cancer prevention, died Jan. 27. He was 92.

  • In Brief

    • Keith Flaherty named editor-in-chief of AACR journal Clinical Cancer Research
    • Gottschalk named chair of bone marrow transplantation, cellular therapy at St. Jude
    • Guttridge named associate director for basic research at Ohio State
    • Heath named associate director for translational sciences at Karmanos
    • Howell joins Fox Chase Department of Radiation Oncology
    • NCCN establishes second policy and advocacy fellowship
  • Drugs & Targets

    • MD Anderson, Guardant form partnership to make liquid biopsy standard of care
    • Indivumed to provide tissue samples to Regeneron
    • Addario institute and Scancell form partnership focused on vaccine
    • Perthera enters collaboration with Novartis to identify patients for clinical trials
    • Benitec, Nant Capital initiate head and neck cancer programs
    • GenomeDx joins Astellas in genomic profiling collaboration
  • Funding Opportunities

    SU2C to fund Dream Teams focused on “cancer interception” in pancreas and lungs

    Stand Up To Cancer broke new ground today when the American Association for Cancer Research, its scientific partner, announced to the cancer research community funding to support new Dream Teams focused on “cancer interception” of the pancreas and lungs.

Issue 4 - Jan. 27, 2017
  • How a “cool” trial in rare cancers was born

    About a year ago, Sandip Patel, a young doctor who had just joined the faculty at University of California San Diego Moores Cancer Center, stopped by to see his mentor, Razelle Kurzrock, chair of the SWOG Early Therapeutics and Rare Cancers Committee.

  • MD Anderson posts $169 million loss for first four months of fiscal 2017

    MD Anderson Cancer Center lost $58 million during the month of December 2016.

    This latest operating loss brings total losses $169.4 million for the first four months of fiscal 2017, which began on Sept. 1, 2016.

  • In Brief

    • Miami Cancer Institute Opens, joins MSKCC Alliance
    • LUNGevity, CancerCare launch helpline
    • White paper shows challenges, progress in immunotherapy
    • Study finds undisclosed conflicts in Twitter posts by oncologists
  • Drugs & Targets

    • FDA approves first drug for marginal zone lymphoma
    • Merck, Domain Therapeutics collaborate in immune-oncology
January 2017PDF

 

Prostate Cancer

Study Shows Only Nuclear-Localized AR-V7 Predictive of Benefit for Patients with Metastatic Disease

Investigators from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Epic Sciences published findings in European Urology that only nuclear localization of AR-V7 protein in circulating tumor cells from metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer patient blood samples is predictive of therapeutic benefit.

 

Pediatric Cancers

Early-phase Study Shows Shrinkage in Pediatric Neural Tumors

In an early-phase clinical trial of a new oral drug, selumetinib, children with the common genetic disorder neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) and plexiform neurofibromas, tumors of the peripheral nerves, tolerated selumetinib and, in most cases, responded to it with tumor shrinkage. NF1 affects one in 3,000 people.

 

Breast Cancer

MammaPrint Substantially Impacts How Breast Cancer in Germany is Treated

Agendia Inc. has presented new prospective data demonstrating the strong impact of its 70-Gene Breast Cancer Recurrence Assay, MammaPrint, and the corresponding 80-Gene Molecular Subtyping Assay BluePrint, in clinical decision-making for patients with early-stage breast cancer in Germany.

 

Pancreatic Cancer

Halozyme’s Phase II Study In Advanced Pancreas Cancer Meets Endpoints

Halozyme Therapeutics Inc. reported topline results from the combined analysis of Stages 1 and 2 and Stage 2 alone of its HALO 202 study, a phase II randomized, multi-center clinical trial of lead investigational drug PEGPH20 in combination with ABRAXANE(nab-paclitaxel) and gemcitabine in stage IV pancreas cancer patients.

 

Lung Cancer

Cota Study Suggests Some Patients Are Left Behind in Genomic Revolution

 

Ovarian Cancer

NewVac Meets Primary Endpoints in Phase II Trial of Quisinostat Combination in Platinum-Resistant Disease

 

Brain Tumors

ONC201 Glioblastoma Trial to Expand Based on Promising Initial Results

 

Head and Neck Cancer

Study Finds Biological Explanation for Racial Disparities in Survival for Certain Cancers

 

NCI CTEP-Approved Trials for January

 

Regulatory Actions

Tecentriq receives priority review for treatment of urothelial carcinoma

CCL Jan 2017 - Jan. 25, 2017
Issue 3 - Jan. 20, 2017
  • “Will I still have coverage?” patients ask oncologists as Republicans move to gut Affordable Care Act

    As Congress lays down the groundwork for dismantling the Affordable Care Act, doctors across America are hearing cancer patients speak of their fear of losing access to care if the law known as “Obamacare” is jettisoned without replacement.

  • FDA forms Oncology Center of Excellence, names Richard Pazdur director

    On his last full day as FDA commissioner, Robert Califf announced the formation of the Oncology Center of Excellence and named Richard Pazdur its director.

    The process of forming the center began in June, and Pazdur has been the acting director. Reorganization of the FDA oncology portfolio is an element of the Obama White House Moonshot Initiative.

  • Guest Editorial

    NCI formulary, moonshot and public-private partnerships

    Announcing the NCI Formulary, the Jan. 13 issue of The Cancer Letter includes comments suggesting the road to new therapies will now get “easier” and other comments indicated that industry and/or NCI collaborators will “not provide support other than drug access”.

  • In Brief

    • Richard Goldberg new director of West Virginia University Cancer Institute
    • Justin Klamerus named president of Karmanos Cancer Hospital
    • Werner-Wasik new executive vice chair, radiation oncology integration at Jefferson
    • Northwell Health partners with Indivumed to create cancer research biobank
    • Tempus and University Hospitals/Seidman announce effort to customize treatment
    • Reporting of lung cancer surgery outcomes provides info about quality of care
  • Drugs & Targets

    • Medicinal product designation for TB-403 for medulloblastoma
  • Funding Opportunities

    LUNGevity issues RFA for career development award

    LUNGevity announced a request for applications for translational research for career development awards that will be granted in 2017.

Issue 2 - Jan. 13, 2017
  • NCI develops a “formulary” to make it easier for cancer centers to test drug combinations

    With a simplified tech transfer agreement, six industry partners and 15 compounds (but no dedicated research funds), NCI challenges investigators to think creatively.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    Simon: The moonshot will continue, but the electronic health record industry must step up

    The National Cancer Moonshot Initiative was created by a memorandum issued by President Barack Obama.

    The wide-ranging public health initiative will cease to exist on Jan. 20—eight days short of a year after it was created—when the keys to the White House are handed over to Donald Trump.

  • In Brief

    • Sakaguchi, Ramsdell, Rudensky win Crafoord Prize for discoveries in immune regulation
    • Gustavo Leone named director of  MUSC Hollings Cancer Center
    • Levine Cancer Institute is first to earn top designation for patient-centered care
    • Martin Edelman joins Fox Chase as hematology/oncology chair
    • Diane Simeone to lead pancreatic cancer center at NYU Langone
    • Mario Contreraz named administrator of IU cancer center clinical trials office
    • Columbia, NewYork-Presbyterian and Life Raft form GIST research partnership
    • NCCN publishes patient education resources for gliomas
    • NIHCM Foundation awards $345K in investigator-initiated research grants
    • LUNGevity Foundation introduces mobile app to help patients manage lung cancer
    • NPR station broadcasts anniversary program on moonshot
    • Goldberg novel is finalist in Jewish Book award
  • Drugs & Targets

    • Merck joins ORIEN
    • Scripps to collaborate with Pfizer to advance DNA-encoded library technology
    • AbbVie announces four new global research collaborations
    • Lilly and Merck expand immuno-oncology collaboration
    • Amgen and Immatics collaborate to develop cancer immunotherapies
    • Philips and Illumina to co-develop integrated genomics solutions for oncology
    • Tecentriq receives priority review for treatment of urothelial carcinoma
    • EMD Serono and MD Anderson enter three-year collaboration
    • MD Anderson and Deerfield Management create company to inhibit autophagy
    • Cologuard earns positive review from Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
    • FDA accepts BLA for Mylan and Biocon’s biosimilar Trastuzumab
    • FDA releases guidance on nonproprietary naming of biologics
Issue 1 - Jan. 6, 2017
  • Doug Lowy on the moonshot, NCI’s invigorated agenda

    As administrations change, cancer research stands in an unusually strong position, NCI Acting Director Douglas Lowy said in an interview with The Cancer Letter.

    “We’re very fortunate that both Republicans and Democrats strongly support biomedical research in general, and cancer research in particular,” Lowy said in a wide-ranging interview. “The leadership of the House and Senate appropriations subcommittees was responsible for the increase in FY16 for the NIH appropriation.”

  • MD Anderson lays off 900 staff members

    The year got off to a bad start for some employees of MD Anderson
    Cancer Center.

    As part of a cost-cutting measure announced Jan. 5, about 900 of them received layoff notices.

    Television crews crowded the parking garages of the Houston hospital, capturing images of teary-eyed people carrying boxes to their cars.

  • Biden plans to create moonshot nonprofit, may focus on drug prices

    After leaving the White House, Vice President Joe Biden plans to consolidate his work on the Cancer Moonshot into an independent, nonprofit organization, while juggling non-cancer programs at two universities.

    Biden aims to continue work on the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative through a new nonprofit that will not be connected to any cancer center or university, according to sources familiar with Biden’s post-administration goals.

  • Introducing a redesign of  The Cancer Letter

    Dear Reader,

    The Cancer Letter is starting 2017 with something we haven’t done in …
    well, ever.

  • In Brief

    • Chi Van Dang named scientific director of Ludwig Institute
    • Vacirca elected COA president
    • Ruckdeschel heads cancer institute at University of Mississippi Medical Center
    • Cassels retires as chief administrator at Winship
    • ACS names three new members to board
    • Kratzke, O’Regan chosen to leadership roles at Big Ten consortium
    • PCORI approves $42 million in funding for comparative studies on healthcare approaches
  • Drugs & Targets

    • AACR project GENIE releases cancer genomic data set
    • Strata Trial study launched with UNC, Alabama cancer centers
    • Foundation Medicine receives FDA approval as companion diagnostic
    • Ionis gets $28 million from AstraZeneca for new cancer drug
    • MaxCyte, Washington University in St. Louis announce collaboration
    • MD Anderson, Affimed collaborate on immunotherapy combination
    • Gradalis, Mount Sinai announce research alliance
    • Phylogica, Genentech extend agreement
    • Senhwa gets FDA orphan drug designation
    • Oncotype DX included in AJCC staging criteria
  • Funding Opportunities

    Addario foundation, IASLC announce grant

    The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation and the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer announced the second annual joint fellowship award to support research on the early detection of lung cancer.

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