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

ISSUE 7 – FEB. 14, 2014PDF

A meeting of the FDA Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee has become a rare occurrence.

Why?

Because cancer drugs are getting better, as are applications for their approval, said Richard Pazdur, director of the FDA Office of Hematology and Oncology Products. 

“Drug development is much more focused, and decisions are being made on the basis of understanding the molecular basis of the disease rather than the number of responses observed in an early phase study,” Pazdur said.

photoGuest Editorial 
Once Again, Hype Overshadows Data
In Breast Cancer Screening Debate

By Otis W. Brawley

Studies assessing the merits of cancer screening tend to get a lot of play in the news media. It seems every six months or so a new study makes a big splash.

photoDrasga and Einhorn Respond to Single Payer Proposal Rebuttal

In a recent article published in the Journal of Oncology Practice, oncologists Ray Drasga and Lawrence Einhorn called on their colleagues to support “an improved Medicare for all” program.

The provisions of the Affordable Care Act are insufficient to solve the crises facing American cancer patients, they wrote in the journal published by the American Society for Clinical Oncology.

photoIn Brief

  • Waun Ki Hong will retire as head of MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Division of Cancer Medicine

  • Fraser Symmans named director of CALGB Alliance Translational Research Program

  • American Cancer Society adds five officers to redesigned volunteer board of directors, with Pamela Meyerhoffer as chair

  • John Walter, president and CEO of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, steps down

  • MD Anderson’s Jim Allison awarded Szent-Györgyi Prize

  • AVEO Oncology and Astellas Pharma Inc. to End Tivozanib Agreement 

20140214 - Feb. 14, 2014
ISSUE 6 – FEB. 7, 2014PDF

“Confidential and Proprietary” Document Proposes Plan for National Network

You might think of this as an event isolated to Columbus or central Ohio: 

On Feb. 7, OhioHealth, a health system that operates not-for-profit, faith-based hospitals in central Ohio and competes with Ohio State University, said it would join the outreach network of MD Anderson Cancer Center, located almost 1,200 miles away.

photoConversation with The Cancer Letter 
McKinsey Charge: Create Plan 
To Expand MD Anderson’s Reach

Responding to questions from The Cancer Letter, Jim Newman, director of external communications at MD Anderson, confirmed that the presentation obtained by The Cancer Letter was prepared under a contract by McKinsey & Company.

photoCVS to Stop Tobacco Sales at Pharmacies

CVS Caremark plans to stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products at more than 7,600 CVS/pharmacy stores by Oct. 1.

The country’s largest drug store chain in overall sales estimated that it will forego approximately $2 billion—about 17 cents per share—in revenues on an annual basis from snuffing out Big T.

photoDrug Development
Tivozanib Trial Discontinued Due to Insufficient Enrollment

AVEO Oncology and Astellas Pharma Inc. discontinued a phase II study of tivozanib in locally recurrent or metastatic triple-negative breast cancer due to insufficient enrollment.

photoIn Brief

  • Wendy Selig elected president Of NCCR board of directors

  • Dana-Farber Receives $900,000 for ovarian cancer research

  • Richard Folkers named director of communications for the Foundation for the NIH

  • Sarah Cannon to integrate cancer programs with HealthONE hospitals

  • Amgen and Merck to collaborate on oncolytic immunotherapy

  • Univ. of Pittsburgh selects GenomAnalytics platform for TGCA data

  • Health Canada approves Aptima HPV assay

  • Definiens and Clarient sign agreement over image analysis software

20140207 - Feb. 7, 2014
JANUARY 2014PDF

Pancreatic Cancer

Abraxane-Gemcitabine Combination Extends Overall Survival in Phase III Trial

A phase III trial of Abraxane extended overall survival in metastatic pancreatic cancer, with some patients surviving longer than three years, when used in combination with gemcitabine. 

The updated OS data from the Metastatic Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma Clinical Trial was presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Gastrointestinal Conference in San Francisco. 

Leukemia
Phase III Trial of Imbruvica Halted, Following
Increases in Progression-Free Survival

A phase III study of Imbruvica in the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia and small lymphocytic lymphoma was stopped early following an interim analysis and at the recommendation of an independent data monitoring committee, which concluded the study demonstrated a significant difference in progression-free survival compared to ofatumumab.

Breast Cancer
Long-term Follow-up Shows ADH and ALH Tissue
Abnormalities Can Carry Similar Risk

Contrary to existing understanding, long-term follow-up of patients with two types of breast tissue abnormalities suggests that both types of abnormalities have the same potential to progress to breast cancer.

Kidney Cancer
Patients on Hypertension Meds Lived Longer, Analysis Shows
Liver Cancer
Post-Hoc Analysis of ThermoDox Suggests OS Improvement
Prostate Cancer
Study: Gene Assay Can Provide Valid Prognostic Information
Colon Cancer
Studies of Oncotype DX Test Presented at ASCO Symposium
Lung Cancer
MicroRNA Assay Detects Cancer Two Years Before LDCT in Study
NCI Approved Trials for the Month of January
FDA News

  • Accelerated Approval granted to Mekinist-Tafinlar combination in unresectable or metastatic melanoma

  • 510(k) Clearance granted to spectral breast density measurement application

  • Reagent system approved for prevention of graft-versus-host disease

  • FDA launches advisory committee membership nomination web portal
  • Orphan drug designation granted to BL-8040 as a treatment for stem cell mobilization
  • FDA lifts clinical hold on tosedostat
  • And more…
20140203 - Feb. 3, 2014