publication date: Jan. 8, 2016
20160108 - Jan. 8, 2016
ISSUE 1 – JAN. 8, 2016PDF



Ellen Stovall, Pioneering Advocate For Survivorship, Dies at 69

Ellen Stovall, one of the most respected and knowledgeable cancer advocates in Washington, died Jan. 5.

The cause of death was a heart attack.

Stovall, 69, was first diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1971. Her disease recurred in 1983. In 2007, she had bilateral mastectomies due to the late effects of the radiation treatment. Her heart disease and chronic pain were also attributed to her original treatment.

“Ellen is a rare transformational figure in cancer care, who saw an enormous unfilled need and led the development of the entire concept of cancer survivorship,” said Norman Coleman, head of the Experimental Therapeutics Section and associate director of the NCI Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis, and senior medical advisor at the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.

Nobel Laureate Alfred Gilman,
Defender of Good Science, Dies at 74

Alfred G. Gilman, a Nobel laureate who concluded his academic career in the role of chief scientific officer of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, died Dec. 23, 2015. Gilman, 74, had pancreatic cancer.

Gilman shared the 1994 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Martin Rodbell of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences for their discovery of G proteins—guanine nucleotide-binding regulatory proteins. G proteins are central to signaling transduction, the process of receiving signals from outside the cell and activating a range of cellular responses.

G proteins are found in nearly all cells, and are central to body processes that include vision, smell, hormone secretion, and thinking in humans. Problems in G-protein signaling contribute to a range of diseases, including cholera, whooping cough, and cancer.

Cancer Death Rate Continues Steady Drop

Steady reductions in smoking combined with advances in cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment have resulted in a 23 percent drop in the cancer death rate since its peak in 1991, according to the annual Cancer Statistics report from the American Cancer Society.

The drop translates to more than 1.7 million cancer deaths averted through 2012. The findings were published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. The report estimates there will be 1,685,210 new cancer cases and 595,690 cancer deaths in the United States in 2016.

Lab-Developed Tests

AMP Responds to FDA Report On Regulation and Oversight

The Association for Molecular Pathology responded to the FDA’s call for oversight of laboratory developed tests, rebutting 20 case studies published by the federal agency that illustrated possible harms inflicted on patients when laboratories did not follow FDA requirements.

The AMP said the agency’s collection of case studies “grossly misrepresents the public health concerns of laboratory developed testing procedures,” and said that FDA oversight would likely prevent few of the potential patient harms.

In the case of clinical trials performed at Duke University using a faulty genomics predictor to assign cancer treatment to individual patients, the AMP said that that test did not cause patient harm, and was not used in a clinical setting.

Funding Opportunity

AACR and Bayer Offering Research Grants

The American Association for Cancer Research and Bayer announced the 2016 AACR-Bayer Innovation and Discovery Grants program for meritorious projects that examine novel targets and biomarkers in oncology research.

In Brief

  • St. Jude to open new Graduate School for Biomedical Sciences
  • Research!America unveils 2016 policy wish list
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering opens outpatient surgery center
  • Inova and George Mason University form research partnership
  • St. Jude receives $20 million commitment from Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation
Drugs and Targets

  • FDA grants Breakthrough Therapy Designation to Boehringer Ingelheim TKI Inhibitor in NSCLC
  • Stem Cell Theranostics and CapellaBio launch collaboration on cardiotoxicity
  • Amgen enters into agreement with GSK to reclaim rights to Prolia, XGEVA, and Vectibix

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