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Issue 13 - Mar. 31, 2017
  • Conversation with the Cancer Letter

    Amy Abernethy: I want health IT companies to have an honest conversation about data sharing

    It’s fair to say that eight years ago, when the Obama administration infused the economy with $800 billion in stimulus funding, policymakers likely did not expect the health information technology industry to evolve into fiefdoms guarded by legions of lawyers and walls of proprietary code.

  • Genentech’s rituximab SC received unanimous ODAC approval recommendation

    The FDA Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee March 29 unanimously recommended approval of a lymphoma treatment, to be administered via subcutaneous injection.

  • In Brief

    • Carlo Croce to receive 2017 AACR Margaret Foti Award for leadership, achievements in research
    • Roger Lo to receive AACR-Waun Ki Hong award for outstanding achievement in cancer research
    • Bezos family donates $35M to Fred Hutchinson
    • Cancer death rates continue to decrease
    • NCCN publishes Radiation Therapy Compendium
    • NCCN Foundation awards grants to four young investigators
    • Friends launches ProgressForPatients.org
    • Health coalition forms National Lung Cancer Roundtable
    • Columbia, New York-Presbyterian, FNIH enter research collaboration
    • The Mikey Czech Foundation Contributes $1 Million To DIPG Research at Dana-Farber
    • Jeffrey Ravetch gets Ross Prize in Molecular Medicine
    • Alan Bernstein awarded Friesen prize
  • Drugs and Targets

    • FDA approves AstraZeneca’s Tagrisso for EGFR mutation-positive NSCLC
    • FDA approves niraparib for epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer
    • Gamida Cell receives EMA orphan drug designation for NiCord
    • Cota, Novartis form collaboration to advance real-world evidence in breast cancer therapies
    • Novartis CAR-T cell therapy for pediatric r/r B-cell ALL gets FDA Priority Review
    • BMS, Foundation Medicine form collaboration to identify predictive biomarkers across tumor types, immunotherapy agents
    • AbbVie, M2Gen announce collaboration for the ORIEN Avatar Research Program
March 2017PDF

 

Multiple Myeloma

Carfilzomib produces OS benefit vs. bortezomib in relapsed, refractory disease

Amgen announced positive results from a planned overall survival interim analysis of the Phase III head-to-head ENDEAVOR trial.

 

Chronic Myeloid Leukemia

NEJM publishes long-term results of Gleevec for 1,106 patients worldwide

The New England Journal of Medicine published results from a nearly 11-year follow-up study, that showed an estimated overall survival rate of 83.3 percent.

 

Breast Cancer

Phase III MONARCH 2 study of abemaciclib meets primary endpoint of PFS

Eli Lilly and Co. said its MONARCH 2 trial of abemaciclib met the primary endpoint of progression-free survival. The phase III study evaluated abemaciclib, a cyclin-dependent kinase  4 and CDK 6 inhibitor, in combination with fulvestrant in women with hormone-receptor-positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative, advanced breast cancer who have relapsed or progressed after endocrine therapy.

 

Ovarian Cancer

Olaparib phase III SOLO-2 trial demonstrates significant PFS benefit in BRCA-mutated disease

AstraZeneca presented data from the confirmatory Phase III SOLO-2 trial demonstrating a statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement of progression-free survival among patients treated with Lynparza (olaparib) compared to placebo.

 

Lung Cancer

Proton therapy offers treatment possibility for recurrent lung cancer

 

Bladder and Prostate Cancers

In phase II studies Apatorsen improved outcomes in bladder, prostate cancers

 

Medulloblastoma

St. Jude study reveals how an enzyme puts the brakes on aggressive disease

 

Health Disparities

Black and Hispanic women in Connecticut less likely to undergo gene expression profiling

 

NCI CTEP-Approved Trials for March

 

Regulatory Actions

Bavencio receives accelerated approval for Merkel cell carcinoma

CCL March 2017 - Mar. 30, 2017
Issue 12 - Mar. 24, 2017
Issue 11 - Mar. 17, 2017
Issue 10 - Mar. 10, 2017
  • DePinho resigns as MD Anderson president, acknowledges shortcomings as administrator

    Ronald DePinho announced on March 8 that he will be stepping down as president of MD Anderson Cancer Center.

    DePinho’s five-and-a-half years at the helm of the world’s largest cancer center were marked by unprecedented turbulence, questions of conflicts of interest, and unhappiness on the part of the faculty.

  • House Republicans publish legislation for replacing Obamacare with Trumpcare

    The House Republicans on March 6 published the Obamacare repeal bill, touching off predictable tidal waves of recriminations, with Democrats stating that the bill would “rip healthcare away from millions of Americans, ration care for working families and seniors, and put insurance companies back in charge of healthcare decisions”

  • Note to international travelers: U.S. customs can take your laptop and ask for passwords

    As spring meetings get going, many cancer organizations are offering what amounts to packing tips, suggesting that some electronic devices are best left at home.

  • In Brief

    • Lynch steps in as CSO at Bristol-Myers Squibb
    • Pharma companies collaborate in NCCN’s multi-industry project
    • NCCN “Just Bag It!” campaign shoots for 100 new adopters by end of conference
    • Targeted Anticancer Therapies Congress becomes an annual ESMO Event
    • ASCO and ONS launch collaboration to advance engagement in CancerLinQ
    • Siteman Cancer Center launches network with affiliation of Boone hospital
  • Drugs and Targets

    • NICE recommends Vectibix for previously untreated metastatic colorectal cancer
    • EnGeneIC receives Orphan designation for its technology in glioblastoma multiforme
    • German Community of Gynecological Oncology acknowledges MammaPrint as having Level 1A clinical evidence 
Issue 9 - Mar. 3, 2017
  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    Steve Hahn and his plan for rescuing MD Anderson

    Steve Hahn didn’t apply for the job of Chief Operating Officer at MD Anderson Cancer Center. In fact, there was no COO job to apply to, and conversations that preceded the announcement of his new role took less than a week.

  • Medicare payment in January helps MD Anderson reduce its operating losses

    MD Anderson Cancer Center reduced its year-to-date operating loss to $77.3 million in January, the fifth month of the fiscal year.

  • Cancer groups to Trump: FDA’s oncology division is NOT “slow and cumbersome”

    FDA’s approval process for drugs is “slow and cumbersome,” President Donald Trump said in his first address to a joint session of Congress on Feb. 28.

  • In Brief

    • Karmanos, Wayne State receive grant to conduct nation’s largest study of factors affecting African Americans with cancer
    • Feldman named chief of breast surgery & surgical oncology, director of breast cancer services at Montefiore and Einstein
    • Michael Rosen named chief communications officer at Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
    • Open Science Prize goes to software tool for tracking viral outbreaks
    • Fred Hutchinson announces Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award winners
    • Boehringer Ingelheim, Vanderbilt expand collaboration to tackle hard-to-treat cancers
    • iKnowMed recognized as No. 1 oncology EHR by Black Book Research
    • CTCA, Allscripts, NantHealth to launch clinical pathways, custom oncology treatment platform
    • Blackfynn and CHOP expand partnership for data integration and analysis in pediatric brain tumors
  • Drugs and Targets

    • FDA approves Xermelo as first and only treatment for carcinoid syndrome diarrhea
    • FDA Accepts avelumab BLA for Priority Review for urothelial carcinoma
    • BMS expands International Immuno-Oncology Network with addition of Columbia and MacCallum Cancer Centre
    • Exelixis, BMS collaborate on late-stage combination trial in first-line RCC
    • Exelixis, Roche to evaluate cabozantinib and atezolizumab in solid tumors
    • Advaxis, SELLAS announce licensing agreement to develop antigen-targeting immunotherapy
February 2017PDF

 

Prostate Cancer

Regimen Extends Life for Some Men With Recurrent Prostate Cancer

Adding hormonal therapy to radiation treatment can significantly improve the average long-term survival of men with prostate cancer who have had their prostate gland removed, according to a new Cedars-Sinai study published in the Feb. 2 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

 

Gastric Cancer

Opdivo Demonstrated Improved Survival in Advanced Gastric Cancer in Phase III Study

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company announced the results of ONO-4538-12 demonstrating Opdivo (nivolumab) significantly reduced the risk of death by 37% (HR 0.63; p<0.0001) in patients with previously treated advanced gastric cancer refractory to or intolerant of standard therapy, a condition without current standard-of-care treatments.

 

Drugs & Targets

FDA Approves Opdivo for Urothelial Carcinoma Indication

FDA approved the nivolumab (Opdivo) injection for intravenous use for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma who have disease progression during or following platinum-containing chemotherapy, or have disease progression within 12 months of neoadjuvant or adjuvant treatment with platinum-containing chemotherapy.

 

Urothelial Cancer

Durvalumab Shows Activity in Patients who Progressed on Platinum-Based Chemo

AstraZeneca and its global biologics research and development arm, MedImmune, announced updated efficacy and safety data for durvalumab in patients with locally-advanced or metastatic urothelial cancer.

 

Renal Cell Carcinoma

NKTR-214 Shows Activity in Phase I RCC Study

 

Hematologic Malignancies

Gene-Guided Targeted Therapy Used to Treat Hematologic Syndromes

 

Breast Cancer

Blood Test That Detects Changes in Tumor DNA Predicts Survival in Advanced Disease

 

Ovarian Cancer

TapImmune Announces Progress in Phase II Trial

 

Brain Tumors

Genome Analysis Helps Keep GBM at Bay for Five Years

 

Skin Cancer

Immune Responses in Virus-Related Skin Cancer Suggest Immunotherapy Strategy

 

Lung Cancer

Vanderbilt Team’s Discovery Offers New Insight on Lung Cancer Risk

 

Thyroid Cancer

Pitt Study Finds Potential Marker of Drug Response in Many Cancer Types

 

NCI CTEP-Approved Trials for February

 

Pharmacology

Newfound Effect of Cancer Drug May Expand its Use

 

Health Disparities

Study: Minority Women Receive Poorer Care for Cervical Cancer

CCL Feb 2017 - Feb. 28, 2017
Issue 8 - Feb. 24, 2017
Issue 7 - Feb. 17, 2017
  • Audit: Lynda Chin’s abandoned $62 million IBM Watson collaboration didn’t follow standard procedures

    An audit of an abandoned mega-project run by IBM Watson and MD Anderson Cancer Center found that the Houston-based institution skirted the UT System’s procurement regulations as it spent $62.1 million on an ill-fated artificial intelligence system.

  • Is it research or run-of-the-mill IT?

    The UT System report on the Oncology Expert Advisor Project raises questions about classification of development of artificial intelligence systems.

    Are they research or are they IT systems?

  • Guest Editorial

    The AACI Network Care Initiative

    Many cancer center hospital systems are expanding their services across large geographic regions, while cancer care is consolidating around ever enlarging groups.

    Over the next two years, as I serve as president of the Association of American Cancer Institutes, I will be leading an initiative to better define these networks and to develop methods of improving the quality of cancer care administered across individual cancer center networks, with better integration of treatment services, especially those now unique to our centers, into the community.

  • In Brief

    • Salk scientist awarded $500K Swedish prize
    • Prostate Cancer Foundation awards $8.6 million to eight teams
    • U.S. Preventive Services Task Force appoints three new members
    • BTG and Society of Interventional Oncology to explore role of minimally invasive therapies in immuno-oncology
    • Perthera, Hope for Stomach Cancer to provide patient services
    • RPRD Diagnostics, Children’s Minnesota to advance clinical pharmacogenomics
    • Jeffery Kutok named chief scientific officer at Infinity
    • CVS Health earns CEO Cancer Gold Standard accreditation
  • Drugs and Targets

    • Amgen submits Supplemental Biologics License Application for Blincyto
    • Pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance, BMS reach agreement on Opdivo
    • Immunomedics enters into licensing agreement with Seattle Genetics for Sacituzumab Govitecan
  • Funding Opportunities

    PCRP announces research awards application guidelines

    The Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Research Program is pre-announcing the application process for its funding awards even though due to the current Continuing Resolution, the Fiscal Year 2017 Defense Appropriations bill has not been passed to allow investigators time to plan and develop ideas for submission to the anticipated FY17 funding opportunities.

Issue 6 - Feb. 10, 2017
  • MMRF contributes largest disease-specific cancer genome dataset to NCI’s Genomic Data Commons

    It took the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation nearly a decade and over $40 million to create what the foundation describes as the largest disease-specific cancer genome dataset in existence.

    The first installment of the dataset is now posted on NCI’s Genomic Data Commons, which places the information in the public domain, making it available to researchers.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    Giusti: The $40 million multiple myeloma dataset will help predict risk and clinical response

    The world’s biggest genomic database on multiple myeloma is being integrated into NCI’s Genomic Data Commons.

    The data on the second most common blood cancer—with genomic information from about 1,400 patients—was compiled by the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation through a genome mapping initiative and a $40 million network of clinical trials.

  • Steve Hahn takes over day to day operations at MD Anderson

    Steve Hahn, a radiation oncologist, was named deputy to the president and chief operating officer at MD Anderson Cancer Center.

  • GAO report: FDA underestimated actual cancer risk, clearing 25 versions of morcellators in over 20 years

    The Government Accountability Office Feb. 8 released an analysis of FDA’s failure to detect the health hazards of power morcellation, a once widely used procedure that has been shown to upstage uterine cancers.

  • In Brief

    • International teams win £100 million in Cancer Research UK competition 
    • Horning receives Duane Roth Memorial Award
    • Chang and Moore win Ehrlich-Darmstaedter Prize
    • ESMO to present new award at first annual Immuno-Oncology Congress
    • Jupiter Medical Center to use IBM Watson for Oncology technology
    • Fox Chase, Temple earn accreditation for BMT program
    • Cota, Hackensack integrate patient data into Epic EHR system
    • NCCN creates Quick Guide for patients with Waldenström’s Macroglobulinemia
  • Drugs & Targets

    • FDA approves Opdivo for urothelial carcinoma indication
    • GenomeDx, Astellas work to identify genomic drivers of Xtandi response
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