publication date: Jun. 5, 2020

In Brief

Richard L. Schilsky, chief medical officer of ASCO, to retire in February

Richard L Schilsky, chief medical officer of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, plans to retire Feb.28, 2021.

Schilsky is ASCO’s first CMO. He also served as senior vice president and executive vice president over the past eight years.

“As is true in everything Rich does, his careful planning, foresight, and thoughtfulness means that ASCO will have his continued expertise and guidance over the next 9 months as we recruit the best possible candidate to serve as our second CMO,” ASCO CEO Clifford A. Hudis wrote in an ASCO Connection blog.

“In the past six months, Rich has led ASCO’s efforts to provide much-needed, high-quality clinical guidance to members desperate to provide excellent care to patients with cancer during COVID-19. Our rapid success here was only possible because of the foundation he helped put in place across ASCO.

“In recent years, Rich led the transformation of ASCO from an organization that not only responsibly disseminates the latest scientific discoveries (through our world-class meetings and highly regarded journals) into one that also actively contributes new knowledge to the field,” Hudis wrote.


CancerLinQ Discovery platform offers access to real-world cancer data

ASCO’s CancerLinQ has launched a platform for CancerLinQ Discovery, its de-identified real-world cancer data product.

The platform includes real-world cancer care data available for analysis, along with a streamlined data request process and a personalized Amazon Web Services Workspace analytics environment.

Through CancerLinQ Discovery, researchers can examine curated sets of aggregated, de-identified data on a variety of cancer type. The CancerLinQ Discovery data set, which has more than 1.5 million cancer patient records, can be studied to uncover unseen patterns in patient characteristics and outcomes, with the goal of revealing opportunities to improve the quality of care.

The new CancerLinQ Discovery Research Platform enables researchers to:

  • Access a user-friendly view of available CancerLinQ Discovery data sets. At launch, CancerLinQ is offering data for five disease areas: breast, lung, ovarian, and prostate cancers, as well as chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma, with plans to launch several more data sets over the course of the year.

  • Review key summary statistics about each data set prior to requesting access.

  • Complete streamlined data requests, approvals, and access processes.

  • Access a secure AWS workspace for completing analytic work, leveraging scalable cloud computing resources and tools like Apache Spark, RStudio, and Jupyter Notebooks, with additional tools and upgraded computing resources available upon request.

  • CancerLinQ Discovery is already being used by major cancer centers, government agencies, and other institutions to inform patient care and generate new hypotheses for clinical research.

This year, 11 abstracts completed using CancerLinQ Discovery data were accepted to the 2020 ASCO virtual annual meeting.

CancerLinQ is capturing data on COVID-19 infection directly from CancerLinQ-participating practices and, through CancerLinQ Discovery, will be providing de-identified data and analyses to help inform the cancer community’s ongoing response to the pandemic.


David Rivadeneira named director of Northwell Health Cancer Institute at Huntington

David Rivadeneira was named director of the Northwell Health Cancer Institute at Huntington. For the past seven years, Rivadeneira has led surgical services and colorectal surgery at Huntington Hospital.

Rivadeneira specializes in laparoscopic, and other minimally invasive procedures including advanced robotic procedures for the treatment of colon and rectal diseases, including cancer. He is a professor of surgery at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell.


MD Anderson, Rakuten Medical collaborate to advance Illuminox platform for cancer treatments

MD Anderson Cancer Center and Rakuten Medical Inc. formed a collaboration to develop cancer therapies based on Rakuten Medical’s Illuminox technology platform.

“The Illuminox technology represents a new form of therapy with the potential to selectively target cancer cells while sparing surrounding normal tissues through light-activatable antibody-dye conjugates,” Jeffrey Myers, chair of head and neck surgery at MD Anderson, said in a statement.

The Illuminox technology platform is based on a cancer therapy called photoimmunotherapy, developed by Hisataka Kobayashi and colleagues from NCI. Illuminox is a technology combining drugs and laser device systems being evaluated for the treatment of different cancers.

Under the agreement, Rakuten Medical and MD Anderson will collaborate to conduct studies based on the Illuminox technology platform and to determine study designs, combination therapies, and target patient populations for future clinical trials. The alliance is designed to expand development of the technology and bring a novel therapeutic approach to patients with cancer, with an initial focus on those with head and neck cancers. This agreement expands upon an existing sponsored research agreement between Rakuten Medical and MD Anderson.

Copyright (c) 2020 The Cancer Letter Inc.