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Issue 25 - Jun. 23, 2017
  • Senate appropriations subcommittee members vow to resist Trump proposal to cut NIH budget

    If the June 22 Senate appropriations hearing is an indication, President Donald Trump will encounter considerable difficulty in accomplishing his stated goal of cutting the NIH budget by 21 percent in fiscal 2018. 

    As their congressional colleagues were ramping up partisan warfare over replacement of the Affordable Care Act, members the Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education and Related Agencies expressed bipartisan support for providing sustained increases for biomedical research.

  • Douglas Lowy to remain deputy director of NCI as Sharpless takes over

    NCI Acting Director Douglas Lowy will continue to serve as deputy director of the institute after Norman “Ned” Sharpless, director of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Wellcome Distinguished Professor in Cancer Research, is sworn in as the next NCI director.

    Sharpless’s appointment was announced June 9. It is not publicly known when Sharpless will be starting in his new role.

  • NCI funds research proposals based on recommendations from the Cancer Moonshot’s Blue Ribbon Panel

    Less than a year after the Cancer Moonshot’s NCI Blue Ribbon Panel identified 10 opportunities in cancer research, NCI has published 24 funding opportunity announcements to conduct research based on the panel’s scientific recommendations.

    The institute has received over 500 applications for the FOAs, said Dinah Singer, director of the NCI Division of Cancer Biology.

  • In Brief

    • CancerCare establishes Patient Values Initiative
    • National accreditation program for rectal cancer accepting applications from hospitals
  • Drugs and Targets

    • FDA approves Rituxan Hycela for DLBL and CLL
    • FDA approves Tafinlar and Mekinist for NSCLC with BRAF V600E mutation
    • FDA approves first companion diagnostic test to screen for multiple NSCLC therapies
    • FDA rejects Pfizer’s marketing application for Epogen biosimilar
    • FDA approves betrixaban for the prophylaxis of venous thromboembolism in adult patients
    • FDA accepts Amgen’s application to expand indication for Xgeva
Issue 24 - Jun. 16, 2017
  • Ned Sharpless, Trump’s choice for NCI director, described as erudite scientist whose expertise spans basic, clinical research

    President Donald Trump announced his intention to name Norman “Ned” Sharpless to serve as the next NCI director. The appointment was announced late on June 9.

    Sharpless, director of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Wellcome Distinguished Professor in Cancer Research, will replace Douglas Lowy, who has served as acting director at the institute since Harold Varmus stepped down as director in March 2015.

  • Sandoz prevails over Amgen in Supreme Court case on marketing biosimilars

    Resolving a three-year-long court fight, the U.S. Supreme Court June 12 ruled that Sandoz can commence marketing of its biosimilar white blood cell growth factor immediately after getting FDA approval.

    Amgen Inc., the sponsor of the reference agent, was seeking to make Sandoz wait for six-months after approval.

  • NIH plans to set aside up to $1.1 billion a year to fund more young investigators

    NIH is revamping its grant funding process to provide additional support to meritorious early-stage and mid-career investigators by freeing up funds from NIH’s base budget.

    The policy, called the Next Generation Researchers Initiative, would set aside about $210 million this year and ramp up that amount to $1.1 billion a year after five years—pending availability of funds.

  • In Brief

    • Immunology expert Robert Ferris named director of UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
    • Warren Kibbe to lead translational biomedical informatics at Duke
    • Tuya Pal to lead Vanderbilt’s cancer health disparities program
    • GW Cancer Center Opens Supportive Oncodermatology Clinic
    • Longnecker named Siteman Cancer Center vice president, oncology services
    • Hopkins Medicine expands collaboration with Allegheny Health Network and Highmark
    • McKesson and USON expand agreement with NCCN, adding five disease states to NCCN Value Pathways
    • ASTRO issues guideline for use of stereotactic radiation in early-stage lung cancer
  • Drugs and Targets

    • FDA approves Darzalex as combination therapy for multiple myeloma
    • FDA approves aminolevulinic acid hydrochloride as imaging agent for gliomas
    • OncoSec granted orphan drug designation for unresectable metastatic melanoma
Issue 23 - Jun. 9, 2017
  • How drugs go viral: Flatiron’s real-world data show how uptake happens

    The graphs make it seem so simple:

    Doctors learn about a new therapy. They start to prescribe it. A standard of care is born. In a matter of months.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    Maria Koehler: Real-world data is “truly a revolution”

    Real-world evidence is more than just another way of tracking post-market patterns in drug utilization, said Maria Koehler, vice president of oncology strategy, innovation and collaborations at Pfizer Oncology.

    New technology for tracking real-world data may soon change the way pharmaceutical companies approach drug development. By analyzing real-time data, industry can use robust evidence from oncology practices to update drug labels, track market trends, and adjust production.

  • Francis Collins to stay on as NIH director in Trump administration

    Donald Trump has asked Francis Collins to remain in his job as NIH director.

    The move means that, as an official of the Trump administration, Collins will have to at least make an appearance of supporting its FY 2018 budget proposal, which would slash NIH by 21 percent and cut indirect costs charged by institutions that house NIH-funded researchers (The Cancer Letter, May 26).

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    Michael Birrer named director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center

    Michael Birrer, an expert in early detection and treatment of gynecologic cancers, was named director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center.

    Birrer, whose job at UAB starts Aug. 1, is director of Medical Gynecologic Oncology and director of the Gynecologic Cancer Research Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital Gillette Cancer Center. Also, he serves as the leader of the Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center program in gynecologic cancers and is a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

  • Obituary

    Angela Hartley Brodie, pioneer in the development of breast cancer treatment, dies at 82

    Angela Hartley Brodie, professor emeritus in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and a scientist whose groundbreaking research is considered among the greatest advances in treating breast cancer, died of complications from Parkinson’s disease at her home in Fulton, MD. She was 82.

    Brodie pioneered the development of aromatase inhibitor. Her work developing aromatase inhibitors was a paradigm-shifting effort that began in the 1970s and was designed to reduce the level of the estrogen in the body and thereby block the growth of cancer cells.

  • Aggressive marketing transforms tobacco use into social justice issue, report states

    Tobacco use should be addressed as a social justice issue, according to a recent report by Action on Smoking and Health.

    “Aggressive industry marketing targeted at African-Americans, Native American, and the LGBTQI community and others has resulted in a disproportionate level of the overall tobacco burden being borne by those who can financially least endure it,” states a report released for World No Tobacco Day on May 31.

  • In Brief

    • Ben Melson rejoins MD Anderson as chief financial officer
    • Jeffrey Molter named director of communications at NYU Perlmutter Cancer Center
    • ACCC delivers immunotherapy education in community setting
    • Andy North & Friends raise $1.05 million for UW Carbone Cancer Center
  • Drugs and Targets

    • BMS, Novartis announce collaboration focused on metastatic colorectal cancer
    • Roche announces FDA approval of companion diagnostic to identify ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer patients
    • FDA Approves Hologic’s Genius 3D Mammography Exam
    • Amgen and Allergan announce FDA advisory committee meeting to review ADP 215, a biosimilar candidate to Bevacizumab
    • Hitachi and MD Anderson to collaborate in research in oropharyngeal cancer
  • Funding Opportunities

    • DOD publishes research opportunities in prostate cancer