Past issues are only available to subscribers. If you are not a member, click here to join.

ISSUE 24 – JUNE 13, 2014PDF



Judge’s Order Likely to Derail Federal Rule Clarifying 340B Drug Discount Program

Many people love the 340B Drug Pricing Program. 

Hospitals, clinics and cancer centers rely on it to buy drugs at discounts as deep as 50 percent—and then collect reimbursements that don’t reflect the discount. 

Many others hate 340B, arguing that the federal program gives qualified providers an unfair advantage, and making it even more difficult for office-based oncology practices to survive. 

Guest Editorial
OHSU’s Brian Druker on Accelerating the Pace of Scientific Progress

We are facing a disturbing paradox in science. We have unprecedented potential for advancements spurred by current technologies. But at the same time we are confronting flat to declining funding. 

This climate provides a unique opportunity to examine and improve how we fund research. 

photoGroups Organize Capitol Hill Push for Lung Cancer Screening

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have another six months to decide whether to cover low-dose computed tomography screening. Yet, proponents of screening seem unwilling to take the chance that Medicare coverage would be restrictive.

To tilt the scale in their favor, they have launched two congressional sign-on letters to CMS.

photoCancer Survivors Face Greater Economic Burdens, Study Says

Cancer survivors face higher medical costs and productivity losses when compared to people without a cancer history, according to a CDC study published June 13. 

photoAs Cigars Gain Popularity Among High School Boys, Legacy Urges FDA Regulation

The number of high school boys who smoke cigars—16.5 percent—is now on par with cigarette use, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

photoIn Brief

  • Kraft named director of University of Arizona Cancer Center

  • St. Jude redesignated as an NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center

  • AstraZeneca CAMCAR, S.A. partners with Cancer Genetics Inc.

  • Memorial Sloan Kettering forms collaboration with Quest Diagnostics

  • Merck signs agreement with Sysmex Inostics GmbH

  • ASCO publishes suvivorship compendium

  • International health organizations publish guidelines for establishing cancer registries

  • Association of Clinical Research Professionals coordinator designation recognized by ANCC Magnet program

  • The Cancer Letter receives the 2014 Dateline Award for Excellence from the Society of Professional Journalists

20140613 - Jun. 13, 2014
ISSUE 22 – MAY 30, 2014PDF


DePinho Explains Tenure Decision,
Professors Dispute Key Details

Confronted with the prospect of censure by an academic freedom group, Ronald DePinho, president of MD Anderson Cancer Center, is defending his decision to deny tenure renewal to two faculty members.

Responding to an inquiry by the American Association of University Professors, DePinho said that his critics are incorrect in asserting that his administration gave no formal explanation for denying tenure renewal to two faculty members.

photoDePinho’s Letter to the AAUP

Responding to an inquiry by the American Association of University Professors, MD Anderson Cancer Center President Ronald DePinho said his critics are incorrect in asserting that his administration gave no formal explanation for denying tenure renewal to two faculty members.

photoBoyd’s Rebuttal

Douglas Boyd, a professor at MD Anderson, sent his own letter to the American Association of University Professors, responding to DePinho’s version of events.

Boyd is chair of MD Anderson’s Faculty Senate Promotion & Tenure Issues Committee.

photoMoffitt, Ohio State Form Network,
Invite Major Cancer Centers to Join

Moffitt Cancer Center and the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center—Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute earlier this week announced that they are constructing a bioinformatics framework that would enable a multi-center collaboration.

photo
ASCO 2014 Annual Meeting: The Special Awards

 

photoFunding Opportunity
DoD Offering $10.5 Million for Lung Cancer Research

The Department of Defense Lung Cancer Research Program will provide $10.5 million to support innovative, high-impact lung cancer research during fiscal 2014.

photoIn Brief

  • Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium names Susan Goodin exec. officer

  • ASCO launches online resource center for the Affordable Care Act

  • James Graham Brown Cancer Center receives $5.5 million grant

  • MD Anderson signs consulting agreement with Concord Medical Services Holdings for hospital projects in Beijing and Shanghai

  • Mayo Clinic signs agreement with N-of-One for molecular diagnostics

  • CDC is recruiting for director of the Division of Cancer Prevention

photoDrug Approvals

  • FDA approves Vectibix in mCRC with KRAS companion diagnostic

  • European CHMP issues positive opinions for Arzerra in CLL and Halaven in metastatic breast cancer

20140530 - May. 30, 2014
May 2014PDF

Lung Cancer Screening

Model Projects 54,900 New Lung Cancer Cases In Five Years with Nationwide LDCT Screening

A model projecting outcomes for nationwide low-dose CT screening for lung cancer estimated that gradual implementation of the program would detect roughly 54,900 more cases over five years in a high-risk Medicare population. The large majority of new cases would be early-stage disease. 

The model assumes that over a five-year period, an additional 20 percent of high risk patients are offered screening each year. Investigators considered three different screening use scenarios for the implementation: an expected-use scenario based on historic experience with mammography (50 percent of patients offered screening undergo screening every year), a low-use scenario (25 percent), and a high-use scenario (75 percent).

Breast Cancer 
ASCO Publishes Two Clinical Guidelines For Treating HER2-Positive Breast Cancer

The American Society of Clinical Oncology published two clinical practice guidelines on treating women with advanced, HER2-positive breast cancer. 

The first guideline lists appropriate systemic therapies for women newly-diagnosed with advanced disease and those whose early-stage disease progressed to advanced cancer. The second provides recommendations for treating brain metastases. Both guidelines were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Also:

Prostate Cancer
Study: Delaying ADT Until Symptoms Appear Can Be Safe in Men with a PSA-based Relapse

A study found that it may be safe to postpone androgen deprivation therapy in men with a PSA-only based relapse after prostate surgery or radiation therapy.

Delaying ADT until the onset of symptoms or appearance of cancer on a scan does not substantially compromise long-term survival, according to the population-based observational study. 

“Rising PSA levels trigger a lot of anxiety, and many men want to start treatment as soon as possible,” said lead study author Xabier Garcia-Albeniz, a research associate at Harvard University School of Public Health. 

“These findings suggest that there may be no need to rush to ADT.”

Also:

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Colorectal Cancer
New Biomarker Findings Show Improvement in KRAS Subtype In Phase III Erbitux Trial
Childhood Neuroblastoma
Immunotherapy Shrinks Tumors In Phase I Study at St. Jude
Chemotherapy
Anti-Nausea Drug Successful In Phase III Trial in Highly Emetogenic Chemotherapy
NCI Approved Trials for the Month of May
Drug Development

  • FDA grants orphan drug designation to Advaxis HPV immunotherapy

  • EMA Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use issues positive opinion for Gardasil

20140529 - May. 29, 2014