publication date: Jun. 5, 2015
20150605 - Jun. 5, 2015
ISSUE 22 – JUNE 5, 2015PDF

NCI-MATCH to Bring in Public, Private Funds, Giving NCI New Urgent Scientific Agenda

ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group is starting enrollment in NCI-MATCH, the most ambitious of NCI’s new generation of clinical trials.

In addition to being the centerpiece of the institute’s recently formed National Clinical Trials Network, NCI-MATCH—the name is an acronym for Molecular Analysis for Therapy Choice—provides a strong case for garnering Congressional support for the White House precision medicine initiative.

The $215 million program proposed by Obama as part of appropriations for fiscal 2016 hasn’t translated into congressional appropriations. The PMI budget request includes $70 million for NCI to scale up efforts to identify genomic drivers in cancer and apply that knowledge to develop more effective approaches to cancer treatment. Similarly, the new-generation trials would boost the NCI case in pursuit of a share of another potential windfall: the 21st Century Cures.

See also:

Conversation with The Cancer Letter

Doroshow: NCI-MATCH is an Example of What Smart Public-Private Partnerships Can Do

The NCI-MATCH phase II study is intended to allow the institute and its clinical trials groups catapult to the premier role in cancer research.

In a conversation with The Cancer Letter, James Doroshow, director of the NCI Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis, said NCI-MATCH established the institute as a trusted party in a complex, multi-agent trial intended to produce leads for government-funded investigators and pharma companies would be able to follow.

ASCO CEO Lichter to Step Down in June 2016

Allen Lichter, CEO of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO, announced June 1 that he would step down June 30, 2016.

Lichter has led ASCO since 2006.

Melanoma Drugs Could be Used to Treat Lung, Liver, Head-Neck and Colorectal Cancers

Three immunotherapy drugs approved for the treatment of melanoma may be used to treat advanced lung, liver, head and neck, and colorectal cancers, according to clinical trial results presented at the 2015 American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago.

These drugs—Keytruda (pembrolizumab) by Merck, and Opdivo (nivolumab) and Yervoy (ipilimumab) by Bristol-Myers Squibb—are called checkpoint inhibitors because they release the molecular checkpoints that keep the immune system from attacking tumors.

    ESMO Scale Stratifies Magnitude of Benefit of Cancer Drugs

    The European Society for Medical Oncology May 30 published the ESMO Magnitude of Clinical Benefit Scale, a tool to assist oncology clinicians in evaluating the most effective anti-cancer medicines for their patients.

    According to the society, the ESMO-MCBS offers a “rational, structured and consistent approach to stratify a drug’s clinically meaningful benefit”—a scale that can be used in public policy decision-making, to develop or improve clinical guidelines, in day-to-day clinical situations.

      Canadian Judge Orders Tobacco Companies to Pay $12 Billion to About One Million Quebec Citizens

      A Quebec court ordered three major tobacco companies to pay US$12 billion, over 15 billion Canadian dollars, in damages in a landmark class action lawsuit.

      On June 1, Quebec Superior Court Judge Brian Riordan instructed Canadian tobacco companies JTI-Macdonald, Imperial Tobacco, and Rothmans, Benson & Hedges to pay punitive and moral damages to two groups of Quebecois plaintiffs. The lawsuit was filed in fall 1998, and legal proceedings began in 2012.

        ASCO President Peter Paul Yu’s 2015 Presidential Address

        A transcript of ASCO President Peter Paul Yu’s address at the 2015 ASCO Annual Meeting.

          Amgen Seeks to Depose Reporter, TCL Invokes First Amendment Shield

          Amgen Inc. is seeking to depose The Cancer Letter editor and publisher Paul Goldberg in connection with a shareholders suit stemming from his 2007 story about the results of a Danish trial of Aranesp.

          The Cancer Letter is contesting the subpoena, asserting first amendment protection and its rights to protect confidentiality of sources.

            Obituary

            Wally Sampson, 85, Challenged Alternative Remedies

            Wallace Ira Sampson, a longtime “quackbuster,” emeritus clinical professor of medicine at Stanford University, and former director of oncology at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, died May 25 following a three-month hospital stay for complications following cardiac surgery. He was 85.

            Sampson was one of a group of scientists and physicians who focused on the growing influence of alternative medicine, said Stephen Barrett, a fellow quackbuster.

              In Brief

              • Nicole Robinson named VP of Industry Relations at Fred Hutch

              • The Department of Defense appropriations bill includes an additional $12 million for lung cancer research

              • The Community Oncology Alliance announces nine practices received oncology medical home designation

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