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Issue 18 - May. 5, 2017
  • Officials who fired Beckerle out at University of Utah as tables turn

    Two weeks ago, Vivian Lee and David Pershing attempted to oust Mary Beckerle from her job at Huntsman Cancer Institute.

    Now, Beckerle is back to being the CEO and director at Huntsman, while Lee is no longer the senior vice president for health sciences at the University of Utah. Lee’s boss, Pershing, too, is stepping down as soon as a new president is recruited.

  • Congress approves $2 billion increase for NIH in FY17 omnibus but FDA cancer center remains unfunded in legislative glitch

    After seven months of continuing resolutions, Congress voted to pass a $1.1 trillion spending bill covering the remainder of the fiscal year 2017—approving a $2 billion increase for NIH.

  • Impact of Proposed Cuts to NIH Budget: More Than Just About Cancer

    If enacted, the proposed budget reduction of $5.8 billion to the National Institutes of Health will slow research, deprive patients afflicted with cancer of hope, and deliver a devastating blow to our science workforce and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This proposed reduction directly counters the wisdom of the U.S. Congress, who less than a year ago overwhelmingly passed the 21st Century Cures Act.

  • Faculty Senate Chair Julie Izzo: MD Anderson has evolved beyond “autocratic structure”

    MD Anderson, through its Shared Governance Committee,  is moving away from an “autocratic” structure, said Julie Izzo, chair of the Faculty Senate and an associate professor in Translational Molecular Pathology at MD Anderson Cancer Center.

  • In Brief

    • Stephen Gruber steps down as director at USC Norris
    • Bhavesh Ashar named to lead U.S. oncology business at Bayer
    • UAB expands cancer navigation program nationally with Guideway Care
    • Paul Goldberg finalist for Sami Rohr Prize
  • Drugs and Targets

    • FDA grants an accelerated approval for AstraZeneca’s Imfinzi for urothelial carcinoma
    • Draft Local Coverage Determination favorable to Oncotype DX Genomic Prostate Score
    • Opdivo gets European approval for squamous cell head and neck cancer
April 2017PDF

 

Breast cancer

Phase III abemaciclib study shows PFS improvement at interim analysis

Eli Lilly and Co. said that following a pre-planned interim analysis for MONARCH 3, the trial met its primary endpoint of demonstrating statistically significant improvement in progression-free survival. In addition, improvement was shown in a key secondary endpoint of objective response rate.

 

Hematologic malignancies

Blinatumomab produced remission in high-risk patients with Ph+ B-Cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Amgen announced that the Journal of Clinical Oncology published results from the Phase 2, open-label ALCANTARA study evaluating the efficacy and safety of Blincyto (blinatumomab) in patients with Philadelphia chromosome-positive relapsed or refractory B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia who had failed at least one second-generation or later tyrosine kinase inhibitor.

 

Pancreatic cancer

SWOG DMC says PEGPH20 unlikely to demonstrate OS improvement

Halozyme Therapeutics Inc. announced it has been informed by SWOG, an independent network of researchers that design and conduct cancer clinical trials, that the SWOG phase Ib/II trial evaluating PEGPH20 plus modified FOLFIRINOX chemotherapy versus modified FOLFIRINOX alone in patients with previously untreated metastatic pancreas cancer has been temporarily closed to enrollment.

 

Childhood cancer

St. Jude study finds childhood cancer survivors would likely benefit from genetic screening

 

Prostate cancer

Active surveillance preserves quality of life for prostate cancer patients, Vanderbilt study concludes

 

Skin cancer

Gene-based blood tests identify more skin cancers

 

Guidelines

ASTRO guideline establishes standard of care for curative treatment of oropharyngeal cancer with RT

 

NCI CTEP-Approved Trials for April

 

Regulatory actions

Tecentriq receives accelerated approval as initial treatment for advanced bladder cancer

CCL April 2017 - May. 1, 2017
Issue 17 - Apr. 28, 2017
  • Beckerle reinstated as director of Huntsman Cancer Institute

    A week after her abrupt firing, Mary Beckerle is back in her job as director and CEO of the Huntsman Cancer Institute.

    The remarkable turnaround comes eight days after the same leadership fired Beckerle—a highly regarded scientist who has led the cancer center since 2006—with no justification other than that she serves at the pleasure of the senior vice president for health sciences (The Cancer Letter, April 21).

  • U of Utah department chairs urge colleagues to sign petition supporting Vivian Lee

    The text of the petition follows:

    This is a critical moment. It is bigger than any one of us and it will have implications for our university and health system for years—maybe decades—to come.

    If we let the commentary and mis-characterizations of the past week go unchecked, our institution, reputation, and leadership will be damaged beyond repair.

  • Soon-Shiong and The Art of the Deal:

    Billionaire gives $12M to the U of Utah, takes $10M in orders for his company

    Under ordinary circumstances, a $12 million gift from a charitable foundation to a university is a cause for celebration.

    Indeed, in September 2014, the university put on considerable hoopla to mark a gift from three charitable entities connected to the pharmaceuticals billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong (The Cancer Letter, April 21).

  • Tom Curran: Contract between NantHealth and U of Utah “seems a bit expensive”

    Starting in 2008, I worked closely with Peter Phillips to establish the Children’s Brain Tumor Tissue Consortium designed to generate a biorepository of rare biospecimens, with associated clinical information and genomic data, that could be shared with the research community.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    No future collaborations with NantHealth are planned, U of Utah says

    The Cancer Letter sent the following questions to the University of Utah and a nearly identical list of questions to Soon-Shiong’s spokesperson. Julie Kiefer, manager, scientific communications at the University of Utah, provided responses to these questions. No response was received from Soon-Shiong’s offices.

  • In Brief

    • SU2C awards $1 million to four research teams through Phillip A. Sharp Awards
    • Aurora Cancer Care launches precision medicine program
    • Cold Spring Harbor to collaborate with Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
    • Jason Chesney named director of University of Louisville
    • Kimberly Stegmaier wins St. Baldrick’s Foundation Arceci Innovation Award
    • Lori Brown named ONS’s first chief experience officer
    • Western IRB, Huron form alliance to serve research programs at academic centers
  • Drugs and Targets

    • FDA approves midostaurin combination for AML; Companion diagnostic also approved
    • FDA expands indications for regorafinib in hepatocellular carcinoma
    • FDA grants accelerate approval for brigatinib for ALK-positive NSCLC
    • FDA takes action against 14 companies for selling illegal cancer treatments
    • DelMar collaborates with Duke to study VAL-083 as front-line GBM treatment
Issue 16 - Apr. 21, 2017
Issue 15 - Apr. 14, 2017
Issue 14 - Apr. 7, 2017
  • Biden: Trump’s cuts would set back cancer research by 15 years

    A budget proposed by President Donald Trump would set NIH and biomedical research back 15 years, said former Vice President Joe Biden, addressing members of the American Association for Cancer Research on April 3.

  • Biden pledges to remain a player in oncopolitics, plans to launch cancer initiative

    Former Vice President Joe Biden said he plans to launch the Biden Cancer Initiative, which would focus on data sharing, quality of cancer care, patient access, and increasing participation in clinical trials.

  • Guest Editorial

    Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act: Learning from 18 years of data on physician-aided dying

    Oncologists must confront end-of-life issues on a nearly daily basis. Our approach to the potential death of a patient may change over time, however, depending on the patients’ diagnosis and stage, where those patients are in their treatment plan, and, of course, what the patients’ wishes are. When feasible, our primary goal is to prevent death from cancer, and when we cannot achieve that, we try to delay death as long as we can. When dying seems inevitable, we do our best to make it as comfortable as possible.

  • In Brief

    • Michael Caligiuri starts term as AACR president
    • SU2C names researchers to $12 Million “Dream Team” on colorectal cancer
    • BMS gives SU2C to $7.5 million to fund immuno-oncology grants
    • David Sabatini wins FNIH Lurie Prize in Biomedical Sciences
    • Jennifer Pietenpol named chief scientific advisor for Susan G. Komen
    • Mark Soberman becomes president of ACCC
    • Biocept, OHSU announce collaboration to increase clinical use of liquid biopsy
    • Sylvester, Syapse to launch precision medicine initiative
    • Invitae starts Patient Insights Network to enable sharing of health information
    • LLS Commits $4 Million to Forty Seven Inc.
    • NCCN imaging appropriate use criteria published for 13 additional guidelines
  • Drugs and Targets

    • Novartis drug combination Tafinlar + Mekinist receives EU approval for BRAF V600-positive advanced NSCLC
    • FDA accepts for review the application of Ibrutinib for cGVHD after failure of systemic therapy
    • Amgen seeks to expand XGEVA indications to multiple myeloma in the US, Europe
    • RedHill receives orphan drug designation for Yeliva
    • ESSA Pharma receives $1.2 million grant payment from CPRIT
    • Oncora Medical cooperate on precision radiation oncology
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
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