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ISSUE 43 – NOV. 15, 2013PDF


A new kind of clinical trial that will assign patients to therapy based on molecular characteristics of their disease is being launched by a coalition of government agencies, pharmaceutical companies, and a non-government organization.

The effort, called the lung cancer “Master Protocol,” is a phase II and phase III trial that would test five drugs, assigning patients to therapy based on tumor biomarkers.

photoVarmus: “We Are Shrinking Everything” To Keep Grant Numbers Level During Cuts

As NCI digs out after the two-week shutdown of the federal government, its leadership has to contend with the prospect of another shutdown weeks away, which may kick in after the current continuing resolution expires Jan. 15, 2014.

photoFDA Grants Accelerated Approval to Imbruvica

FDA granted an accelerated approval to Imbruvica (ibrutinib) for mantle cell lymphoma patients who have received at least one prior therapy. 

Imbruvica was approved four months after submission of its New Drug Application. The agent is sponsored by Pharmacyclics Inc.

20131203_10 - Dec. 3, 2013
ISSUE 42 – NOV. 8, 2013PDF


Wicha to Leave Director’s Job at UMich

Conversation with The Cancer Letter: Max Wicha

After 27 years and six NCI cancer center support grants, Max Wicha announced he would step down as director of the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“Frankly, my research is really going well now,” Wicha said in a Q&A with The Cancer Letter. “It’s in a very exciting phase in researching cancer stem cells. My lab has grown—and my work is now moving into the clinic, so I’m actually working with our clinical people to do clinical trials targeting cancer stem cells. 

“So the idea of five more years, or do I get to really focus on my research now? That was really the deciding factor. 

“So it’s time. Again, six core grants is quite a number.”


More than 230,000 people—including 82 Texas state lawmakers—petitioned BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. to provide its investigational drug to an Austin attorney afflicted with stage IIIC ovarian cancer.

photoIn Brief

  • Lynne Penberthy named NCI DCCPS associate director for surveillance

  • Michele Bloch appointed chief of NCI Tobacco Control Research Branch

  • MD Anderson’s James Allison named 2013 Innovations Award winner in Bioscience by The Economist

  • European Commission approves Yervoy for first-line treatment of adult unresectable or metastatic melanoma

  • FDA approves generic Morphine Sulfate Injection

20131203_6 - Dec. 3, 2013
ISSUE 41 – NOV. 1, 2013PDF


Rosen Moves to City of Hope

Steven Rosen is leaving his job as director of Northwestern University Robert H. Lurie Cancer Center to become the center director, provost, and chief scientific officer at City of Hope National Medical Center.

The move is interesting in part because, after 25 years in the top job at Northwestern, Rosen is the second longest-serving director of a cancer center in the U.S. (Rosen’s friend Max Wicha, who became director of the University of Michigan Cancer Center 27 years ago, is the first.)


Conversation with The Cancer Letter: Steven Rosen

Robert Stone, president and incoming CEO of City of Hope, described the evolution of the novel leadership structure at his institution.

While most directors of cancer centers have to fulfill a multitude of very different roles, City of Hope has redistributed these roles, creating the role of provost and chief scientific officer to shape and direct the scientific and educational activities at the institution.

The role encompasses all units of City of Hope: the Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, a National Medical Center, a Medical Foundation, a graduate school for biological sciences, and nationwide philanthropy.

photoQuality of Care: ASCO Publishes “Top Five” Ways to Improve Cancer Care

The American Society of Clinical Oncology published its second list of five opportunities to improve the quality and value of cancer care in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

photoCost of Care: Medicare Patients Charged More In Outpatient Care Settings

Patients receiving chemotherapy in hospital outpatient departments face up to 47 percent higher costs compared to patients treated in physician community cancer clinics, according to a report prepared by The Moran Company and released by The US Oncology Network and the Community Oncology Alliance.

photoIn Brief

  • Larry Kun Named Clinical Director at St. Jude

  • Paula Rieger, CEO of the Oncology Nursing Society, announces plans to retire

  • FDA Approves Gazyva in CLL, The Agency’s First Approval of a Breakthrough Therapy

  • FDA Requests Manufacturer Suspend Sales and Marketing of Iclusig

20131203 - Dec. 3, 2013