publication date: Jul. 21, 2017

In Brief

10 physicians win NCI Cancer Clinical Investigator Team Leadership Awards

Ten investigators nationwide received the NCI’s Cancer Clinical Investigator Team Leadership Awards.

The award recognizes and supports outstanding clinical investigators at NCI-designated cancer centers who participate extensively in institute-funded collaborative clinical trials and whose leadership, participation, and activities promote a culture of successful clinical research.

Established in 2009, the awards are intended to help retain investigators in academic clinical research careers. Each of these investigators is a full-time faculty member who is a board-certified physician and has practiced medicine between three and eight years post-fellowship.

Each recipient was nominated for the award by their cancer center director on the basis of qualifications, interests, accomplishments, and motivation, and based upon the nominee’s intent and ability to promote a successful clinical trials culture and to pursue an academic career in clinical research.

The recipients will devote 15 to 20 percent effort to the activities associated with this award, and the sponsoring cancer centers have agreed to protect the awardees’ time for these activities. The award provides partial salary support for two years for the recipient to engage in activities and efforts related to the award.

The recipients for 2017 are:

  • Ajjai Alva
    University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center

  • Lisa Barroilhet
    University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center

  • Ursa Brown-Glaberman
    University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center

  • Shira Dinner
    Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, Northwestern University

  • Jean Hoffman-Censits
    Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Thomas Jefferson University

  • Kevin Kalinsky
    Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, Columbia University

  • Christopher Lieu
    University of Colorado Comprehensive Cancer Center

  • Rahul Parikh
    University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute

  • Eric Roeland
    Moores Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego

  • April Salama
    Duke Cancer Institute, Duke University Medical Center


House Appropriations Committee approves fiscal 2018 Labor-HHS spending bill

The House Appropriations Committee marked up the fiscal 2018 Labor-HHS funding bill with a vote of 28-22 on July 19.

The bill includes a $1.1 billion increase for NIH, a $82 million funding boost for the NCI, and preserves the individual programs and current funding levels for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cancer screening and early detection programs. This version of the bill eliminates funding for the Affordable Care Act and the Family Planning (Title X) Program (The Cancer Letter, July 14).

“United for Medical Research applauds the increase to the budget for NIH contained in the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education funding bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee yesterday,” UMR President Lizbet Boroughs said in a statement. “We are deeply appreciative of Subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole’s unwavering support for boosting funding for medical research.

“We also want to thank Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro and full Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen and Ranking Member Nita Lowey for making funding for medical research a high priority in this bill. We look forward to working with the Senate on its Labor-HHS funding bill and with the full Congress to ensure a 2018 budget solution that enables increased funding for the NIH and the medical research initiatives called for by the 21st Century Cures Act.”


ASCO issues position statement on drug prices

The American Society of Clinical Oncology issued a position statement on pricing of cancer drugs.

The statement asserts that any solutions must preserve patients’ access to care and foster innovation, analyzes a wide array of options and recommends that a panel of stakeholders be established to determine which proposals will be effective and develop a uniform approach for assessing the value of drugs. 

Developed by ASCO volunteer leaders and adopted by the society’s board of directors, the ASCO Position Statement On Addressing the Affordability of Cancer Drugs analyzes a range of cost-cutting proposals, from allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, to legalizing the importation of drugs, to adopting bundled payment programs.

Specifically, ASCO proposes that a diverse group of stakeholders from across the healthcare sector:

  • Identify, prioritize, and test potential solutions to address the affordability of cancer drugs

  • Help define a standard approach to assessing the value of drugs that could be applied broadly to inform drug pricing and reimbursement.

While new classes of drugs have achieved unprecedented success in a growing number of cancers, in some cases the price of a new drug bears no relation to its effectiveness. According to one study, only 19 percent of cancer drugs recently approved by the FDA produced clinically meaningful outcomes for patients, despite their high prices.

ASCO suggests that:

  • The FDA consider using meaningful clinical outcomes when assessing new and supplemental drug applications, rather than small benefits that achieve statistical significance in large trials. In 2014, ASCO published a policy statement recommending a definition of clinically meaningful outcomes for cancer clinical trials, which the FDA could use when approving new cancer treatments and drug indications.

  • Medicare test the feasibility of a “value-based pathway” approach designed to incentivize providers to use higher-value drugs and the pharmaceutical industry to develop high-value treatments.

The full text of ASCO’s position statement is posted here.


Martine Extermann appointed program leader of Senior Adult Oncology at Moffitt   

Martine Extermann was appointed program leader of Senior Adult Oncology.

Exterman served as interim chair for several months, during which an international search was conducted.

Extermann joined Moffitt nearly 20 years ago, after completing a Moffitt fellowship in medical/geriatric oncology.

She has received several honors and awards, among them the Pfizer Visiting Professorship Award at the University of Texas, The American Society of Clinical Oncology B.J. Kennedy Award for Scientific Excellence in Geriatric Oncology, the Paul Calabresi Award from the International Society of Geriatric Oncology, and the Lifetime Achievement Award in Geriatric Oncology from the German Society of Geriatrics and German Society of Hematology/Oncology.


Hayley Walker becomes hospitalist at Fox Chase

Fox Chase Cancer Center has hired Hayley Walker to the Department of Medicine as a hospitalist.

Walker completed her residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. She received her medical degree from Harvard Medical School, and her undergraduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania, where she was recognized as a Dean’s Scholar.

During her residency, Walker published research on emotions and attitudes toward endocrine therapy in young women with breast cancer.


ACCC developing care coordination model for Medicaid patients with lung cancer

The Association of Community Cancer Centers has initiated a three-year initiative focused on developing an optimal care coordination model for Medicaid patients with lung cancer throug

Funding and support for this project is provided by a grant from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation.

Phase one, conducted throughout 2017, focuses on research. Drawing on a literature review and environmental scan, extensive on-site information gathered at five cancer programs that served as development sites, and with the insight and guidance of the project’s Advisory Committee and Technical Expert Panel, ACCC developed a beta version of the care coordination model.

The OCCM builds directly on the Multidisciplinary Care Assessment Tool created by the National Cancer Institute Community Cancer Centers Program, a 2007-2014 NCI-funded initiative. The model, which is designed to be used at cancer programs of all resource levels, focuses on 13 areas of care for patients with lung cancer.

  • Patient Access to Care

  • Prospective Multidisciplinary Case Planning

  • Financial, Transportation, and Housing

  • Management of Co-morbid Conditions

  • Care Coordination

  • Treatment Team Integration

  • Electronic Health Records (EHR) and Patient Access to Information

  • Survivorship Care

  • Supportive Care

  • Tobacco Cessation

  • Clinical Trials

  • Physician Engagement

  • Quality Measurement and Improvement

During the second phase, ACCC would test the beta optimal care coordination model. To select testing sites, ACCC conducted a comprehensive, competitive application process. Seven ACCC member cancer programs have been selected to test the model by conducting quality improvement initiatives in one or more of the 13 OCCM assessment areas listed above: 

  • Cowell Family Cancer Center (Munson Healthcare) – Traverse City, MI

  • Northwest Medical Specialties – Tacoma, WA

  • Ascension Wheaton Franciscan Cancer Care – Milwaukee, WI

  • Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center – Daytona Beach, FL

  • Genesis Cancer Care Center – Zanesville, OH

  • Advocate Lutheran General Hospital Cancer Care Program – Park Ridge, IL

  • Southern Ohio Medical Center – Portsmouth, OH

The third phase, testing the model, will be from October 2017-September 2018. Data and outcomes from this phase will be used to further refine and modify the OCCM to ensure that it is a practical guide for cancer programs interested in advancing patient-centered, multidisciplinary, coordinated care for their lung cancer patients on Medicaid.


UC Davis-led group receives $17 million NCI grant

Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium investigators received a $17 million program project grant renewal from NCI to study the effectiveness of different breast cancer screening and surveillance strategies using digital mammography, digital breast tomosynthesis, and breast MRI.

The consortium seeks to ensure that women get personalized care based on their individual risk and preferences. It is co-led by UC Davis researcher Diana Miglioretti.

Established in 1994, the BCSC is a nationwide research collaboration that includes UC San Francisco, the University of North Carolina, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, the University of Vermont, the University of Illinois, Advocate Health Care and Kaiser Permanente Washington. The consortium has a long history of evaluating the benefits and harms of different screening approaches.

The grant renewal expands on prior research by evaluating surveillance imaging of breast cancer survivors in addition to screening women without a history of breast cancer. BCSC research has helped fuel the shift from a one-size-fits-all screening approach to consideration of women’s breast cancer risk and preferences.

The ultimate goal is to tailor each woman’s screening regimen to her risk of screening outcomes based on family history, breast density and other risk factors, while also considering her personal preferences around balancing the potential benefits and harms of screening. Previous BCSC studies have been used to update the national breast cancer screening guidelines of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the American Cancer Society.

The grant renewal will fund three projects to better match women with the most appropriate screening or surveillance regimens. For example, the consortium will investigate which women benefit most from tomosynthesis or breast MRI, and which will be better served by digital mammography alone.

They will investigate different ways to maximize early detection while minimizing failures and false alarms among all women receiving screening and among breast cancer survivors receiving surveillance for second breast cancer occurrences.

The ultimate goal is to develop a clinical algorithm that uses a woman’s information, such as personal and family history of breast cancer, race, age, breast density, history of breast biopsy and body mass index, to determine the ideal combination of imaging and other approaches to detect cancers early, when they are most treatable, while minimizing harms.

Copyright (c) 2020 The Cancer Letter Inc.