Issue 12 - Mar 24, 2017
Issue 11 - Mar 17, 2017
Issue 10 - Mar 10, 2017
  • DePinho resigns as MD Anderson president, acknowledges shortcomings as administrator

    Ronald DePinho announced on March 8 that he will be stepping down as president of MD Anderson Cancer Center.

    DePinho’s five-and-a-half years at the helm of the world’s largest cancer center were marked by unprecedented turbulence, questions of conflicts of interest, and unhappiness on the part of the faculty.

  • House Republicans publish legislation for replacing Obamacare with Trumpcare

    The House Republicans on March 6 published the Obamacare repeal bill, touching off predictable tidal waves of recriminations, with Democrats stating that the bill would “rip healthcare away from millions of Americans, ration care for working families and seniors, and put insurance companies back in charge of healthcare decisions”

  • Note to international travelers: U.S. customs can take your laptop and ask for passwords

    As spring meetings get going, many cancer organizations are offering what amounts to packing tips, suggesting that some electronic devices are best left at home.

  • In Brief

    • Lynch steps in as CSO at Bristol-Myers Squibb
    • Pharma companies collaborate in NCCN’s multi-industry project
    • NCCN “Just Bag It!” campaign shoots for 100 new adopters by end of conference
    • Targeted Anticancer Therapies Congress becomes an annual ESMO Event
    • ASCO and ONS launch collaboration to advance engagement in CancerLinQ
    • Siteman Cancer Center launches network with affiliation of Boone hospital
  • Drugs and Targets

    • NICE recommends Vectibix for previously untreated metastatic colorectal cancer
    • EnGeneIC receives Orphan designation for its technology in glioblastoma multiforme
    • German Community of Gynecological Oncology acknowledges MammaPrint as having Level 1A clinical evidence 
Issue 9 - Mar 3, 2017
  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    Steve Hahn and his plan for rescuing MD Anderson

    Steve Hahn didn’t apply for the job of Chief Operating Officer at MD Anderson Cancer Center. In fact, there was no COO job to apply to, and conversations that preceded the announcement of his new role took less than a week.

  • Medicare payment in January helps MD Anderson reduce its operating losses

    MD Anderson Cancer Center reduced its year-to-date operating loss to $77.3 million in January, the fifth month of the fiscal year.

  • Cancer groups to Trump: FDA’s oncology division is NOT “slow and cumbersome”

    FDA’s approval process for drugs is “slow and cumbersome,” President Donald Trump said in his first address to a joint session of Congress on Feb. 28.

  • In Brief

    • Karmanos, Wayne State receive grant to conduct nation’s largest study of factors affecting African Americans with cancer
    • Feldman named chief of breast surgery & surgical oncology, director of breast cancer services at Montefiore and Einstein
    • Michael Rosen named chief communications officer at Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
    • Open Science Prize goes to software tool for tracking viral outbreaks
    • Fred Hutchinson announces Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award winners
    • Boehringer Ingelheim, Vanderbilt expand collaboration to tackle hard-to-treat cancers
    • iKnowMed recognized as No. 1 oncology EHR by Black Book Research
    • CTCA, Allscripts, NantHealth to launch clinical pathways, custom oncology treatment platform
    • Blackfynn and CHOP expand partnership for data integration and analysis in pediatric brain tumors
  • Drugs and Targets

    • FDA approves Xermelo as first and only treatment for carcinoid syndrome diarrhea
    • FDA Accepts avelumab BLA for Priority Review for urothelial carcinoma
    • BMS expands International Immuno-Oncology Network with addition of Columbia and MacCallum Cancer Centre
    • Exelixis, BMS collaborate on late-stage combination trial in first-line RCC
    • Exelixis, Roche to evaluate cabozantinib and atezolizumab in solid tumors
    • Advaxis, SELLAS announce licensing agreement to develop antigen-targeting immunotherapy
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
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.

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