publication date: Jan. 15, 2016
20160115 - Jan. 15, 2016
ISSUE 2 – JAN. 15, 2016PDF

Obama Announces Moonshot to Cure Cancer

President Barack Obama announced a moonshot aimed at curing cancer, a project to be led by Vice President Joe Biden.

The United States can do “so much more,” Obama said in his seventh and final State of the Union address Jan. 12. “Last year, Vice President Biden said that with a new moonshot, America can cure cancer. Last month, he worked with this Congress to give scientists at the National Institutes of Health the strongest resources they’ve had over a decade.

“Tonight, I’m announcing a new national effort to get it done. And because he’s gone to the mat for all of us, on so many issues over the past 40 years, I’m putting Joe in charge of mission control. For the loved ones we’ve all lost, for the family we can still save—let’s make America the country that cures cancer once and for all.”

 When Moonshots Collide

Did Patrick Soon-Shiong attempt to scoop President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address?

Several days before Obama announced the federal government’s moonshot to cure cancer, Soon-Shiong put out a draft press release, claiming that the White House, NIH, FDA and pharmaceutical companies have united in “Cancer MoonShot 2020,” an immunotherapy clinical trials program he devised.

Soon-Shiong, founder and CEO of NantWorks and the Chan Soon-Shiong Institute of Molecular Medicine, ultimately announced his moonshot on Jan. 11, a day before Obama announced his.

 Conversation with The Cancer Letter

Soon-Shiong Says FDA & NCI are Onboard For His Moonshot; Feds Deny Involvement

Government agencies said the biotechnology billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong had overstated the extent of their involvement in “Cancer MoonShot 2020,” the immunotherapy clinical trials program he put together.

In an in-depth conversation with Matthew Bin Han Ong, a reporter with The Cancer Letter, Soon-Shiong said that while his program doesn’t seek federal funds, it has the support of NCI and FDA officials.

Soon-Shiong said he and Vice President Joe Biden met to discuss their interlocking missions and are now pursuing them.

USPSTF Recommends Biennial Mammography Screening For Women Ages 50-74

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force published its final recommendation statement on screening for breast cancer, delivering a B rating for mammography screening every two years in women between ages 50 and 74.

The task force also recommended selectively offering mammography to women below age 50, saying that the decision to begin that screening should be an individual one. The USPSTF gave this age group a C recommendation.

“Women who place a higher value on the potential benefit than the potential harms may choose to begin biennial screening between the ages of 40 and 49 years,” the task force wrote in its recommendations.

 Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Demands Recall of Gold Standard Accreditation of U.S. Chamber of Commerce

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is undeserving of its Gold Standard accreditation by the CEO Roundtable on Cancer, saying it should be rescinded because of the trade group’s lobbying efforts against tobacco regulations.

In Brief

  • Leonard Zon receives Knudsen cancer genetics award from NCI
  • Amy McKee named acting deputy office director at FDA OHOP
  • Paul Kluetz appointed associate director of clinical science at FDA OHOP
  • Dean Tsarwhas named medical director at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital
  • Rafat Abonour named medical liaison for the International Myeloma Foundation
  • Ravi Salgia joins City of Hope as chair of Department of Medical Oncology
  • FASEB publishes recommendations for research reproducibility
  • COA elects new board and executive committee members
Drugs and Targets

  • Blincyto receives conditional approval from Health Canada
  • FDA grants priority review to venetoclax in CLL
  • Sorrento Therapeutics and Karolinska Institutet form collaboration
  • Eisai submits MAA to European Medicines Agency for lenvatinib
  • MD Anderson and DelMar Pharmaceuticals form collaboration
  • Debiopharm International SA collaborates in EORTC trial

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