publication date: Sep. 14, 2018

In Brief

Nearly 350 groups join AACR in Rally for Medical Research

Nearly 350 organizations took part in the sixth annual Rally for Medical Research Hill Day—led by the American Association for Cancer Research—on Sept. 12 and 13 to advocate for sustained annual funding increases for NIH.

On Sept. 12, the reception included remarks from NIH Director Francis Collins, Sens. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Patty Murray (D-WA), as well as Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS). Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) spoke at breakfast on Sept. 13 to scientists, health professionals, and patient advocates who participated in the Rally for Medical Research Hill Day.

Advocates expressed their appreciation to Senate offices for passing a bill with a $2 billion funding increase for NIH in fiscal 2019, and requested that the House support the Senate-passed funding level of $39.1 billion for NIH in the latest version of the Labor-HHS appropriations bill.

“There is a very strong level of enthusiasm on Capitol Hill to provide the NIH with its fourth consecutive significant annual funding increase, which was underscored when the Senate voted overwhelmingly (85-7) last month for a bill that included a $2 billion increase for the NIH in FY 2019,” Jon Retzlaff, chief policy officer of the AACR, said in a statement. “If the $2 billion increase proposed by the Senate is also supported by the House, it would translate to a 30 percent increase for the NIH since FY 2016.”

The Rally for Medical Research was launched in April 2013.


Stand Up To Cancer 2018 telecast raises $123.6 million

Stand Up To Cancer said more than $123.6 million has been pledged collectively so far in connection with the Sept. 7 “roadblock” fundraising telecast in the United States and Canada.

The funds pledged toward the SU2C scientific model will be directed to collaborative research programs utilizing SU2C’s scientific oversight in both the United States and Canada.

The live show was SU2C’s sixth biennial fundraising telecast since the organization launched in 2008 and marks ten years of impact in the fight against cancer.

In the U.S., SU2C is still accepting donations at and at 1-888-90-STAND (78263).

The telecast is available at


Allis, Grunstein, Glen, Steitz win 2018 Lasker Awards

The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation announced Sept. 11 the winners of its 2018 Lasker Awards:


  • C. David Allis from Rockefeller University and Michael Grunstein from the University of California, Los Angeles will receive the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award, for discoveries elucidating how gene expression is influenced by chemical modification of histones—the proteins that package DNA within chromosomes.

  • John B. Glen, formerly from AstraZeneca, will be honored with the Lasker~DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award, for the discovery and development of propofol, a chemical whose rapid action and freedom from residual effects have made it the most widely used agent for induction of anesthesia in patients throughout the world.

  • Joan Argetsinger Steitz from Yale University will receive the Lasker~Koshland Special Achievement Award in Medical Science, for four decades of leadership in biomedical science—exemplified by pioneering discoveries in RNA biology, generous mentorship of budding scientists, and vigorous and passionate support of women in science.

Widely regarded as America’s top biomedical research prize, the Lasker Awards carry an honorarium of $250,000 for each category. The awards will be presented Friday, Sept. 21, in New York City.


$3.2 million NIH grant aims to correct diagnostic errors for breast cancer

In a new UCLA-led study, funded by a $3.2 million NCI grant, researchers will examine how perception and cognition interact in the interpretation of breast biopsy images. The aim is to improve physicians’ diagnostic skills and accuracy.

Joann Elmore, a UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center member and professor of medicine in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, is leading the five-year project which will study diagnostic errors made by residents in training as well as experienced pathologists.

“Pathologists want to be better at their job and find every suspicious lesion, but when they do make errors, it can be hard to know why,” said Elmore, who is also director of the UCLA National Clinician Scholars Program. “This project will use advanced eye-tracking techniques that measure exactly where the pathologist was looking during each case so that we can determine what is leading to diagnostic errors.”

Elmore’s previous research has identified high levels of disagreement and errors among physicians in the diagnosis of cancer.


CPRIT surpasses $2 billion milestone with 64 new grants

With the approval of 64 new research, product development, and prevention grants totaling more than $177 million, the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas has awarded $2.15 billion of the $3 billion approved by Texas voters in 2007 to fight cancer.

CPRIT’s Academic Research program awarded 51 new grants to 16 different Texas institutions, including a Core Facility Support Award to Texas Southern University, a first-time CPRIT grantee. The awards are posted here.

CPRIT has awarded 1,317 grants totaling more than $2.15 billion. During the 85th Texas Legislature, CPRIT’s Sunset Review date was extended by two years to 2023 to allow the agency to use fully all funds approved by Texas voters.


Sidney Kimmel – Jefferson joins Driver network

The Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center – Jefferson Health announced a collaboration with Driver, a first-of-its-kind global technology platform that connects cancer patients to the best treatments, which has launched in the United States and China.

Driver’s platform enables any patient, anywhere in the world, to access treatment options across an unprecedented network of cancer centers without leaving home.

NCI and the Chinese National Cancer Center are the founding members of Driver’s global network. To date, more than thirty leading cancer centers in addition to SKCC comprise Driver’s network, including the Cleveland Clinic; Mayo Clinic; Massachusetts General Hospital; University of California, San Francisco; University of California, Los Angeles; Duke University; University of North Carolina; and Emory.

In order to provide patients with extensive cancer treatment options and information, Driver processes medical records and tumor data, then offers current evidence-based treatment guidelines as well as information on clinical trials for which a patient is potentially eligible that are being offered at any of the cancer centers in Driver’s network.

Driver’s lead investor is Horizons Ventures, with whom Driver has partnered from its inception to build its platform in China in parallel to the United States.


Three community health care systems to use Flatiron’s OncoCloud Suite

Tennessee Oncology, New York Cancer & Blood Specialists, and West Cancer Center has joined up to form OneOncology, a technology platform that utilizes Flatiron Health’s OncoCloud Suite, which includes OncoEMR, the company’s electronic medical records management system.

OneOncology connects over 225 oncology providers who treat nearly 158,000 cancer patients every year at more than 60 care locations, according to the health systems. General Atlantic, a global growth equity firm, invested in OneOncology to ensure its “transformation to a value-based cancer care system.”

Copyright (c) 2020 The Cancer Letter Inc.