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Issue 37 - Oct. 6, 2017
  • Former American Cancer Society CEO John Seffrin endorses cancer research venture funded by Philip Morris

    Philip Morris International, the tobacco company, is spending $1 billion over 12 years on “cancer research,” which will be funded through something called the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World.

    Here at The Cancer Letter, a news item of this sort might have been easily chalked up to crafty PR tactics and thrown the heck out.

    And it would have been, were it not for this tidbit: the press release included a gushing quote from a gentleman named John Seffrin.

  • How PR firms created “dialogue” structure used by cancer groups and tobacco clients

    In January 2000, The Cancer Letter was working on a story about what seemed to be a strange political structure that was being put together by the American Cancer Society.
    The new organization was called the National Dialogue on Cancer, and its objective was to bring everyone interested in cancer into the same political process, and, in the process, to rewrite the National Cancer Act.

    The “dialogue,” which didn’t look like anything I ever saw in cancer politics, was being run—and presumably was set up—by Shandwick International, a PR firm.

  • Conversation with the Cancer Letter

    Matt Myers: Philip Morris has a long history of funding what it calls independent research by previously credible researchers

    The Foundation for Tobacco-Free World is unlikely to win hearts and minds in the tobacco control community, said Matt Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

    The new foundation, which received an $80 million-a-year funding commitment from Philip Morris International, has the support of John Seffrin, former CEO of the American Cancer Society.

    If it is to gain credibility, the group would now need to recruit a board of directors who would be willing to stake their reputations on a venture funded by the makers of Marlboro cigarettes.

  • Conversation with the Cancer Letter

    Allan Erickson: “I think Philip Morris has a long-term goal of a smoke-free world

    Through the controversies triggered by the National Dialogue on Cancer, John Seffrin relied on his ACS ally Allan Erickson.

    Erickson now runs a small group called the National Tobacco Reform Initiative, which includes Seffrin and Derek Yach, head of the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, which received funding from Philip Morris International to spend $80 million a year on cancer research.

  • Guest Editorial

    The Write Treatment; when a writing workshop is a part of cancer treatment

    I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 and underwent treatment until 2010 at Beth Israel Hospital, now Mount Sinai, in New York. A year after finishing treatment I was thrilled to find out that my novel, Stalina, was a winner of the Amazon Debut Novel Award Contest.

    The prize was a publishing contract. My cancer diagnosis was life changing, but so was becoming a published author. Soon after receiving the wonderful news about my novel, I found signs of a possible relapse of the cancer. Fortunately, tests came back negative. The angst I experienced was an acknowledgment that cancer would always be part of my psyche, if not my body. I wanted to find a constructive way to face these anxieties. I wanted to find a way to give back to the community of patients, doctors and nurses, friends, colleagues, and family who supported me throughout my cancer journey.

  • In Brief

    • Sunil Sharma joins TGen, City of Hope and HonorHealth
    • Wisconsin state budget expands precision medicine in cancer
  • Drugs & Targets

    • FDA approves sNDA for Alunbrig tablets, Takeda announces  
    • FDA grants priority review for Genentech’s Perjeta in adjuvant HER2+ early breast cancer
    • Mylan launches generic Gleevec tablets
    • Amgen, CytomX Therapeutics form  immuno-oncology collaboration
August & September 2017PDF

 

Lung cancer

Two Opdivo trials show three-year survival in patients with previously treated advanced 

Bristol-Myers Squibb announced three-year overall survival data from CheckMate-017 and CheckMate-057, two pivotal phase III randomized studies evaluating Opdivo versus docetaxel in patients with previously treated metastatic non-small cell lung cancer.

 

Myeloma

Safety review update of Revlimid and risk of developing new types of malignancies

There is an increased risk of second primary malignancies in patients with newly-diagnosed multiple myeloma who received Revlimid (lenalidomide), according to FDA.

 

Urothelial carcinoma

Cyramza data results revealed for urothelial carcinoma

Eli Lilly announced phase III RANGE data that are the first detailed results from the global, randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled RANGE study of Cyramza (ramucirumab), in combination with docetaxel, in patients with advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma whose disease progressed on or after platinum-based chemotherapy.

 

Sarcoma

Randomized data from CMB305 + checkpoint inhibitor study show clinical benefit and immune response

 

Head and neck cancer

Kura Oncology announces positive phase II study for Tipifarnib in HRAS mutant disease 

 

GIST

GIST tumors linked to NF1 mutations, genetic testing needed

 

Esophageal cancer

Large study finds that women have superior response to esophageal cancer treatment 

 

Anal cancer

Black men have lowest survival rates among patients with anal cancer

 

Immunotherapy

NCI study identifies essential genes for cancer immunotherapy

 

Screening

Study of 15,000 mammograms shows pressure guided mammography may improve test results 

 

NCI CTEP-Approved Trials for August 

 

NCI CTEP-Approved Trials for September

 

Regulatory actions

Novartis’s Kymriah becomes first gene therapy to get FDA approval 

CCL Sept 2017 - Oct. 4, 2017
Issue 36 - Sep. 29, 2017
  • Peter Pisters hits the right notes in town hall meeting at MD Anderson

    Returning to Houston for a town hall meeting at MD Anderson on Sept. 27, Peter Pisters, the institution’s freshly-appointed president, hit every note a guy in his position needed to hit: baseball, football, shared values, shared governance, book clubs, reminiscences on growing up nerdy in Canada, the story of how he met his wife, anecdotes from taking care of MD Anderson patients during Hurricane Rita.

    He brought with him a decades-old Grundig radio he used while taking care of MD Anderson patients during the 2005 Hurricane Rita, pictures of cute children and adorable dogs, but no notes—the talk just flowed, flawlessly, organically.

  • In draft, USPSTF recommends screening with hrHPV without cytology

    To detect high-grade precancerious cervical lesions and cervical cancer, women ages 30 to 65 may no longer need to rely on co-testing, and can choose to either screen for high-risk human papillomavirus types or undergo cervical cytology, according to a recent draft recommendation released by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

    The draft statement, which is open for public comment through Oct. 9, recommends screening for cervical cancer every three years with cervical cytology alone in women ages 21 to 29. For women ages 30 to 65, USPSTF recommends either screening every three years with cervical cytology alone, or every five years with hrHPV testing alone.

  • Lowy & Schiller at the Lasker Awards: The paradox of disease prevention, and how some scientists rise above their peers

    Douglas Lowy and John Schiller received the 2017 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award on Sept. 15 for research that led to development of the human papillomavirus vaccine.

    Lowy, who is completing his stint as the NCI acting director, becomes the first sitting head of the institute—permanent or acting—to win the award, which is described as America’s Nobel Prize (The Cancer Letter, Sept. 8).

     

  • Guest Editorial

    A costly “rebranding” of an old drug comes with a 700% price increase 

    Funaro is a resident at Duke Pharmacy, Friedman is the James B. Powell Professor of Pediatric Oncology at Duke, and Weant is a clinical pharmacist in neuro-oncology at Duke Pharmacy.

    Drug shortages, exorbitant medication costs, and price gouging tactics are facets of the American healthcare system that most providers have become all too familiar with in recent years. Unfortunately, oncology is no exception. Given the critical nature of the diseases they treat, chemotherapy agents, no matter how old, are particularly subject to these large and arbitrary price increases.

  • In Brief

    • CancerCare expands financial assistance for patients affected by hurricanes
    • Research!America to honor chair emeritus John Edward Porter and medical and health research advocacy leaders
    • Fox Chase Cancer Center receives gift to establish pancreatic cancer institute
    • Linus Chuang named chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at Western Connecticut Health Network
  • Drugs and Targets

    • FDA approves Verzenio for advanced or metastatic breast cancers
    • First anti-PD-1 therapy approved for advanced gastric adenocarcinoma
    • Amgen and AbbVie agree to settlement allowing commercialization of Amgevita
    • FDA approves new label for Sun Pharma’s Odomzo for sustained duration of response in treatment of basal cell carcinoma